NovaFest generates mixed reactions

Kristin Scudder


staff reporter

Taste of Philly, a performance by mentalist Wayne Hoffman, a showing of “Casablanca,” the signature Field Festival and the evening concert brought Villanovans together for this year’s NovaFest.

Events kicked off on April 25 at 2 p.m. at the Oreo with Taste of Philly. It was advertised that students could enjoy free Rita’s Italian Ices, cheesesteaks from Geno’s and Garret Hill, Philadelphia Soft Pretzels and Milkboy Coffee. However, Geno’s cheesesteaks were not delivered due to a complication with the order.

“There was a great turnout of students, but we definitely need more food for next year,” NovaFest Student Director Kelsi Bendinelli said.

The student reactions were very similar.

“I got there a little after 2:00 p.m., and they had already run out of most of the food, but it was nice to see that many people out on campus,” freshman Brent Schneider said.

There were also live student bands and a broadcast from WXVU.

Events continued at 7 p.m. in the Belle Air Terrace with a performance by Extreme Mentalist Wayne Hoffman from NBC’s show “Phenomenon.” One of the acts he did was with twins. Both twins faced each other and stuck out their arms. Through this connection, Hoffman was able to make one twin feel everything he did to the other twin. He drew on one twin and then the ink appeared on the other.

Also, when people walked in the door, they were given a sheet of paper with something to think about. Later in the show, Hoffman told people to focus on what the sheet of paper told them. He then was able to predict exactly what the students were thinking.

“One of the students was supposed to think of his first car, and then Hoffman predicted the make and model of this student’s first car,” Bendinelli said.

The Belle Air Terrace was packed with students, leaving only standing room.

“The Mentalist Wayne Hoffman was sick; he put on an incredible show,” sophomore Bryce Moore said. “It was definitely one of the best parts of NovaFest.”

The day’s events concluded with a showing of “Casablanca” on Sheehan Beach.

“The event went over better than I even expected,” Bendinelli said. “About 60 students came out with their blankets, and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun.”

On April 26, events began at 1 p.m. on Sheehan Beach with the Field Festival. Cuz, a cover band from the local area, performed live music. There was also food from Chipotle Mexican Grill and Dining Services. Food from Chipotle ran out very fast.

“If CAT is going to advertise a specific type of food at an event, then that type of food should last for more than 20 minutes,” sophomore Paul Weibel said.

There were also many activities set up for students. There were inflatables, including a giant twister and Cong Adventure.

“Some of the students really had a good time with the inflatable Cong Adventure,” Bendinelli said. “They started making relay teams to compete against each other.”

There were also motion simulators for racecar driving and surfing.

To go along with the Hollywood theme, there were free Hollywood Boulevard signs, wax hands and air-brushed T-shirts.

Student reactions to the Field Festival were a mixed.

“It was fun, but most of the activities this year were basically just get it and go,” Moore said. “None of the activities really kept students around long.”

NovaFest events concluded in the Pavilion with the concert event. Brand New and Sean Kingston performed.

“After conducting an extensive survey, we received feedback that students wanted large-scale performers and diverse acts,” CAT’s Music Events Co-Coordinator Abbey Carr said. “We feel that we met these requests, but attendance did not quite reflect the survey results.”

Kingston opened the concert. During Kingston’s performance, he unexpectedly left the stage twice for unknown reasons.

“It is unclear why he left, but I was told he needed to take a break for eight minutes and would return for one more song to conclude his set,” Carr said. Carr said she was disappointed with Kingston’s performance because of this.

“It was a poor selection by CAT,” junior Adam Hoffman said. “Kingston barely sang, if I could call it that.”

After Kingston’s performance, about half the crowd left the Pavilion. Brand New followed. Throughout their performance, there was a constant flow of students leaving the Pavilion.

Dave Derrot from WXVU said he did not get his hopes up for the concert.

“Brand New is a good studio band, but they are known to be bad live,” Derrot said. “It exceeded my expectations compared to what I thought it would be.”

There was mixed reaction from attendees, as some were happy and others were disappointed.

“I believe that we selected a good lineup for NovaFest that could appeal to a majority of students’ musical tastes,” Carr said. “Once the bands hit the stage, it’s up to them to put on a good show.”