The Summer Breeze festival took campus by storm last weekend as the unlikely combination of a hypnotist, a bouncy cheerleading flick, a climbing wall, indie bands, and old-school rappers dominated the quads from Friday night to Saturday evening.
Summer Breeze, the annual festival put on by the Council on University Programming (COUP) in the lull before spring finals, went off without a hitch this year.
"The turnout was one of the best we've had in a couple of years," said Marina Tong, the COUP organizer of the event.
"It's nice to see people getting out of their shells and acting like real college students," said first-year Taylor Singleton of the Saturday afternoon festivities on the quads.
The festival kicked off on Friday night with Doc's outdoor screening of Bring It On, followed by a dance party rocking the quads past 4:00 a.m. "It had more people than I've ever seen at this school," said first-year party-goer Ashish Khanna.
Saturday afternoon, COUP turned campus into a free carnival. From noon until 5:00 p.m., entertainment on the quads consisted of seven inflatables -- including a laser tag arena, a velcro obstacle course, a climbing wall, and a wrestling arena.
There was also a stage set up in front of the administration building which hosted the finals of the Roommate Game, the student improvisational group Occam's Razor, and a professional hypnotist.
Before a large student audience, 15 hypnotized students executed such demands as searching for their belly buttons on the floor, interpreting from Japanese to English, staging a sumo wrestling match, and shouting out a U of C cheerleading cheer upon hearing a certain word.
On another stage across campus rocked WHPK's annual free show featuring a half-dozen bands from the Midwest, with local favorites Happy Supply and Bunny Brains entertaining a happy and brainy audience.
"It's going very well," said first-year and WHPK DJ Tim Aher. "Bunny Brains are awesome."
A few dozen student organizations also participated in the fun by holding bake sales, face-painting, and more around the center circle of the quads.
Students Organizing Support (SOS), a new RSO devoted to helping impoverished countries when disaster strikes, raised $285 for victims of earthquakes in El Salvador and India from their dunk tank booth.
"When people found out we were raising money for natural disaster relief they were much more apt to donate the money." Said SOS founder Shikha Jain, who sat in the dunk tank for an hour Saturday afternoon. "Not only did we raise money for an excellent cause, but everyone had a lot of fun."
The grand finale of Summer Breeze was the Saturday night concert put on by the Major Activities Board (MAB) featuring Run DMC, Mos Def, and Fuel.
With over 2,000 tickets sold -- the second-highest turnout they have ever had -- MAB is considering the event a success.
"The high ticket sales reassure us that we're bringing the right bands, so we're happy about that," said MAB chair Mark Hendrickx.
Opening for the headliners were three student bands, Phinny's Secrets, Fulton Pyser, and Drexel. Sean Mahan, bassist of Fulton Pyser, felt privileged to share the stage, and brush shoulders backstage, with the legendary Run DMC.
"It was an honor to be touched by the Reverend," said Mahan. Reverend Run, that is.
"I wish the opening local bands had more time to play," said first-year Sam Lavigne. He also wanted Mos Def to play a longer set, "at the expense of Fuel."