SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Signs posted in Shepherd University’s Butcher Center arena Sunday warned “no crowd surfing” and “no moshing.”
The college’s Shepfest welcomed students back to school with inflatable games, food, airbrush tattoos and musical acts, including headliner Gym Class Heroes. Students thrust their hands in the air for the band best known for alternative hip-hop-influenced songs like “Cupid’s Chokehold/Breakfast in America.”
“They have a really good tune,” said Aisha Khan, a 21-year-old biology major.
Khan and her friend, Siobhan Bellew, said they learned about the Gym Class Heroes performance through Facebook and on-campus fliers. The opportunity to see and hear the band drew them to Shepfest, which offered free admission to students.
“I think it’s a good way to get everyone together and have fun,” Khan said.
Cassandra Nipe, a freshman whose major is chemistry, grabbed a dish of ice cream after being thrown by a mechanical bull. Her friend, 16-year-old Ashley Sharer, purchased a band shirt.
“Our favorite song is definitely ‘Cupid’s Chokehold,’” said Nipe, 18.
She said Shepfest seemed to be well-organized by the college’s program board, an organization that hosts events throughout the school year.
Planning for the festival took all summer, according to Nicole Taschner, a member of the program board.
The event was staffed by 50 volunteers, Taschner said.
“I think it’s important to help out, especially with something as big as this,” said Alyssa Cable, one of the volunteers.
Another volunteer, Kathleen Stickel, said she perceived a lot of enthusiasm when people asked to help at the event.
“We’ll be back next year,” Stickel said.
Travis Dupri opened for Gym Class Heroes because of requests from his fellow students. The hip-hop artist’s performance was in front of his biggest crowd.
“I think things went really well. ... Right now, I’m getting a lot of love from the frats,” Dupri said.
Dupri, 22, is a senior business entrepreneurship major from Silver Spring, Md. He released “Pinot Grigio” as a Mixtape and is working on “Hangover.”
Dupri said other Shepherd University students started forming his fan base after a “Battle of the Bands” event.