New musical festival coming to UMass

Pusha T and Lil Tecca to perform

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New musical festival coming to UMass

(Photo courtesy of Pusha T's official Facebook page)

(Photo courtesy of Pusha T's official Facebook page)

(Photo courtesy of Pusha T's official Facebook page)

(Photo courtesy of Pusha T's official Facebook page)

By Kathrine Esten, Assistant News Editor

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On Sept. 19., Pusha T and Lil Tecca will perform in the Mullins Center at the University of Massachusetts from 5 to 10 p.m.

The rappers, joined by Souly Had and Teyonahhh, will perform as part of the free FYG U Music + Tech Festival. FYG U, which stands for “Find Your Grind,” aims to celebrate student passions and “show them the possibilities of who they can be” through music and technology, according to the event’s website.

As a national collegiate musical festival, FYG U began its first tour in the spring and will visit a total of 10 colleges and universities by the end of 2019. The event is produced by Big Noise Live, a promoter and experiential agency which curates large-scale entertainment experiences. UMass was selected based on location and size of the school.

In a press release, Big Noise Live vice president Brian Rucker, the senior vice president of Big Noise Live, said, “We are stoked to continue presenting cutting-edge performing artists, interactive experiences and exciting brands to college students and Prime Student members,” Rucker said.

“They’ll go to Coachella, they’ll go to Boston Calling,” Rucker said in an interview. “We wanted to be able to bring something to the university that they can present to their students that will make it feel like it’s theirs.”

In addition to the performances on the TikTok Main Stage, FYG U will host a Madden 20 esports tournament and a campus talent showcase. All college students with a valid, physical student ID will have access to the event, with priority given to UMass students.

“These are first year [events], so as you can expect, a lot of it is a bit hit or miss,” Rucker said.

At the most recent festival location, the University of Missouri, about 4,500 students attended. Rucker said the campus competition was a major highlight of the event since the winner was able to perform in between the main acts on the main stage.

By placing a large emphasis on student music and e-sports competitions, Rucker hopes to provide new experiences for students, including access to proper sound, lights and video.

“I really hope that students show up for their friends and support them at the student competition.” Adding that “Smash Brothers” will be available to casual gameplay, Rucker said, “I’m really hoping the esports and gaming community come out for this.”

This fall, the festival is visiting several other universities across the country, including the University of Southern California, Arizona State University and the University of Illinois. FYG U is presented by Prime Student and sponsored by Universal Music Group, Prime Video, Twitch Prime, AWS Educate, and TikTok.

At the event, Prime Student members will get VIP access to a main stage viewing area and entrance to the Prime Student Lounge, in addition to other perks. All students will have opportunities to preview Amazon Originals in the Prime Video Lounge, learn about cloud computing via AWS Educate Program and play the latest edition of Madden presented by Twitch Prime.

According to Rucker, Big Noise Live plans to make the festival an annual event. By visiting larger universities – such as UMass – in major regions of the country, the organization hopes to establish a national basis and expand the festival in future years.

“This is something students can really put their arms around and will be theirs year after year,” Rucker said, adding that he looked forward to working with student groups to select artists and plan the event in the future.

Pusha T currently serves as the president of G.O.O.D. Music, a label founded by rapper Kanye West. Known for hits like “If You Know You Know,” the artist recently released a new single, “Coming Home” in collaboration with Lauryn Hill, to bring attention to mass incarceration and the movement against mandatory minimum sentencing, according to ABC News.

Lil Tecca launched his debut album, “We Love You Tecca,” in August 2019, opening at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.

“Most importantly, I hope students get an opportunity to see a really well-run show in the arena that they’re excited about with artists they care about,” Rucker added.

Since this will be the first FYG U Fest held at the University, Big Noise Live made it a priority for tickets to be free. Rucker said a main goal is for students to feel they had an “amazing experience for a free ticket opportunity.”

“We wanted to be able to offer up an event to the university, first and foremost, that had no barriers,” he said. “Secondly, we wanted to offer up an event that would allow students to come and see a show without having to pay this year.”

Looking to the future, Rucker said he hoped future FYG U Fests would visit more universities and expand at existing ones.

Kathrine Esten can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @KathrineEsten.