Written by Amanda Land. Media by Sean McFarland.
Over the years AgapeFest has worked hard to earn a reputation as Greenville’s very own student-run music festival. It is a brand that both represents Greenville College and the various hands-on opportunities that are available to students who attend the school. Though it has been a festival style event for nearly two decades now, this year is different. It will be held at the Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri. While the change may be difficult for some, Agape staff members, myself included, are excited to see how AgapeFest will morph to fit the transition.
The music industry is an ever-changing field where people are constantly looking for the newest and most exciting act, especially when they pay to see a concert. Though Agape has done a great job in the past, I believe this move will better suit the expectations of the next generation of concert-goers. The current fan is not entertained in the same way those who attended Agape in the ‘80s would have been. The growth of social media and supposed direct interaction with a band member has allowed fans to feel as if they know the acts personally. The term fanatic has never been more appropriate than it is today.
Due to the more enclosed space of an arena style show, it will allow for a more intimate atmosphere where such fans can feel up close and personal with the bands. The buzz and excitement will also have a greater chance to feel tangible to those who attend. In recent arena shows that I have attended, nothing was more exciting than walking around the crowded breezeway while people shopped for merch at the seemingly endless tables lining the walls. There was a literal buzz in the air as you could still hear the faint sound of the music from the main stage area and wondered if you would possibly run into a band member. No one had to worry whether or not we would be in the freezing cold or standing knee deep in water while watching the show. It was all about the music.
It has always been a great draw to prospective students that Greenville has its own, student run, music festival; that is no small feat. Being at the Family Arena will only make the opportunities for students bigger and better. As a more fast-paced and professionally hectic environment it will allow students to have an even closer look at the realities of the industry. Going to school in a small town where the events rarely take us away from Greenville, it is easy to get lost in the ‘Greenville Bubble.’ To some who do not know what to expect, being taken away by graduation and going out to get a job can almost be a form of culture shock. The new venue will be a great way to stretch those who get lost in the small town atmosphere of school and have yet to experience any other type of environment.
All in all, this year has been a year of great changes and it is only appropriate that AgapeFest should be placed in that category. Even though the transition will be a difficult one, it is certainly time for appropriate change. My fellow Agape Staff members and I are excited for what is to come and are already working hard to make AgapeFest ’14 the best festival to date.
Video by AgapeFest.