On Saturday, spectators gathered on the Boren lawn with cups of apple cider and donut holes, facing the stage decked out with fall foliage as the Mainstage team finished their final preparations for Fall Fest.
Mainstage, the organization responsible for events like Silent Disco, presented Fall Fest on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. in front of the Student Center. Fall Fest is an acoustic concert that offers a casual opportunity for the Taylor community to see performers that don’t typically have the opportunity to grace the stage.
“Mostly it's just to get a gauge on new student talent and expose them to the Taylor community,” junior Amanda Doty, president of Mainstage, said. “I feel like most of the time we see the same people perform at MyGen and stuff. So Fall Fest is a more low-key event where new people can perform and you can hear these songs, and sometimes people perform originals, so that's really cool.”
By presenting this event, Mainstage can spotlight unexpected performers, giving them an opportunity to form musical groups with their peers.
Sophomore Emily Hudson performed with a group of friends including Laura Edwards, Maddie Gerig, Ben Gerig and Luke Rolling.
“It’s fun because we like to sing together, and we just really like performing. So we decided to audition and decided to get a group together,” Hudson said.
Hudson’s group opened the show with an upbeat rendition of Jack Johnson’s “Upside Down.”
Beyond that, students performed everything from classic acoustic songs like “Landslide” and “Country Roads” to unplugged twists on modern pop songs like “Attention” and “Everything I Wanted.” Ren MacDonald and Jacob Zamorano even performed their own original songs.
The Mainstage team wanted every part of the process, from the auditions to the performances, to be easy and laid-back for the performers.
Doty described the low-key audition process. Every group got a fifteen minute timeframe and performed one of their songs for the Mainstage team. After the groups performed, each member of Mainstage discussed how they felt about the groups, then used that dialogue to guide their decision.
Hudson agreed that Mainstage made the audition process very easy and low-stress for her group.
“It was very chill,” said Hudson. “We filled out a Google Form to sign up, and they assigned us a time slot. We just did one song, so they could see the vibe of the audition, and that was it. It was very chill, very low-key.”
The atmosphere Hudson described translated to the event. Each performance felt authentic to the performers, almost as if they were simply having a jam session with their friends. The laid-back, fall-themed environment contributed to this. The sunset reflected orange and yellow onto the clouds above the Zondervan Library, providing the perfect ambience for the evening and the perfect backdrop for a relaxed jam session.
This atmosphere can give students a chance to step on the stage in a less demanding environment, giving them the confidence to audition for bigger events like MyGen and Nostalgia Night and allowing them to display their undiscovered gifts to the people on campus.
“Because we’re such a small campus, I never expect there to be a lot of singers, a lot of performers playing instruments. I always get surprised with the amount of people who audition,” said Doty. “I never knew that person played guitar or played the drums. I was so surprised to see someone that I know I’ve walked by seven times has this hidden talent.”