What AMFest 2019 Did Right

We didn't know what to expect from AMFest, since it was both of our first times, but we're so glad we showed up at 2PM to ensure we would have the best chance at getting front row for Hayley Kiyoko. In a few words, the artists leading up to the headliner blew us away. We enjoyed performances from a great number of diverse and exceptional local artists, and already can’t wait for next year’s AMFest.

All of the acts at AMFest 2019 were either people of color or women, and many were women of color. As we mentioned in our article about Hayley Kiyoko, representation of marginalized identities in music is very rare. That’s what made AMFest so refreshing. AMFest’s representation of a great variety of intersecting identities is a great step towards inclusivity and a great example of how diverse representation in music is possible.

One of the highlights of our AMFest experience was meeting the women behind Lavender, who were down to Earth as they proudly returned to their alma mater to perform at AMFest for the third time. Another performance that stood out was Babeo Baggins' ability to bring everyone together with her banjo and cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” It was a powerful set, as she sat almost eye level with the crowd, students began to bring their blankets closer to the stage to get near Babeo Baggins.

The concerts picked up speed and energy with the performances led by Purple Hurt and Mannywellz. Lead singer Sedna from Purple Hurt climbed the fence to dance among the AU students, making the show really come to life. With Purple Hurt’s upbeat music and catchy melodies, we couldn’t help but to bop our heads with her. Likewise, Mannywellz leaped to the crowd to serenade the students sitting on the lawn and even got some to “two-step” with him. His repetitive call and response: “If you are happy to be alive say ‘oulala,’” put smiles on the crowds’ faces.

Finally, what we had been waiting for all day and night: Hayley Kiyoko came on stage. Like a true performer, she came on sporting a bold outfit with smoke following her strut to the microphone. Colored lights flooded our visions while blasting, "Under the Blue/Take Me In," which is one of Kiyoko’s lesser-known songs. When her breakout song, “Girls Like Girls” came on, the entire crowd simultaneously screamed and raised their hands in the air, it was a truly spiritual moment for the most dedicated fans.

Hayley Kiyoko’s dance breaks excited everyone even more, as a woman of many talents, she even took a moment to go crazy on the drums. But of course, her incredible voice and moving lyrics about queer love were what made the night so spectacular. One song that got just about everyone in the crowd excited was “What I Need,” which has a thrilling beat and lyrics that never really leave your head. By the end of the night, our heads were spinning and our ears were numb from being in the front row, but it was well worth the thrill of seeing Hayley Kiyoko in full glory.

We’d like to thank all of the people who made this amazing AMFest possible and all the artists for giving their all with every song. AMFest was one of the best nights of the semester for us, and gave us one last hurrah to boost our spirits before finals. It exceeded expectations really wowed us. We're already waiting for AMFest 2020.


(Photo Sources: 1, 2 belongs to the author, 3)