As a freshman in any college, there are always certain traditions, occasions, or celebrations known throughout the campus as the events to go to. In the fall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, these include the college football games, homecoming week and Freakfest. Ah yes, Freakfest. Hearing the way people talked about Freakfest upon arriving on campus, I knew instantly within my first two weeks of being a freshman that I would need to immediately purchase tickets and go. I expected Halloween costumes, great music, fun food, a decorated area, and so much more. Here is what Freakfest was actually like.
My main incentive for going to Freakfest was to see Lil Yachty who was performing on the main stage at approximately midnight. Given that the weather was rainy and cold on the night of Freakfest, my friends and I decided we were going to skip the other performers and only arrive around 11 in preparation for Lil Yachty. Since Freakfest is a Halloween inspired event, my friends and I decided to dress up as Kim Possible, a costume that would allow us to wear somewhat warm clothing in the frigid and wet weather. When we got to Freakfest, we met up with some of our other friends and made our way to the main stage. At the entrance to Freakfest, there were few people but as you approached the main stage, there were people stacked up in all directions in a smaller space than I had ever witnessed. Costumes were everywhere, and every type of costume was visible. Some were cute, some were funny and others were absolutely scary. As we made our way towards the stage, we were completely overwhelmed by the number of people that were there. We wanted to get as close to the stage as possible, so we began the process of arm linking and dragging each other, in order to not get lost, and weaving through the extreme amounts of people in the crowd. At multiple times my arms were being dragged in opposite directions, and you would forcefully have to drag someone in order for them not be lost within the sea of bodies that made up the crowd.
Although we were trying to avoid losing each other, inevitably it happened. I was split up from my friend group along with a few others, but we managed to stay together for the whole show. When it was time for the main act to come out, we eagerly began to cheer and shout, which aroused a second problem. My costume required sunglasses which were nearly punched out of my hair, one girl lost a wig, and my hair was getting caught and pulled on by so many people and things. Compared to my appearance before I entered the music fest, I looked as though I had been through a tornado.
When the music started, I expected the pushing and shoving to stop, but it only increased, and it felt like a constant struggle to stay on my own two feet during the entire concert. During this experience, I could suddenly understand how one could be trampled. I was able to, however, stay on my feet the entire concert and had a great time singing along to the songs of the main act and dancing with my friends.
Then came the water. Although it was cold and rainy the entire night, it was a light drizzle of rain, one that didn’t really make you soaked and the chilliness of the night was wisped away by the body heat of the hundreds of people in the crowd. Two-thirds of the way through the concert, Lil Yachty took a break for a chance to give everyone a water break. People began handing out so many water bottles, which was really nice and refreshing. This innocent gesture eventually took an unexpected turn. After a few minutes, Lil Yachty began counting down to a statement about how we were going to make it rain in 10 seconds. When he said 0, everyone flung their water bottles in the air, sending a complete shower of water among everyone. If you weren’t wet from the rain before, you were drenched now.
Even though we were soaked, squeezed tightly amongst ourselves and constantly being pushed by others, the concert was still a great time and I’m glad that I experienced a tradition raved about by my school. By the end of the night upon returning home from Freakfest, I looked as though I had been through the wringer, but that became a point of conversation as people asked me about my experience. I had so much fun attending even though it was in the rain and bitter Wisconsin weather; I could only imagine the amount of fun I would have had in nice weather. Freakfest was unlike any music festival I have ever been to, and I realized that that is the beauty of Freakfest. You will have an experience unlike any other and I recommend everyone at UW-Madison to experience Freakfest once in their lives.