Hundreds of students gathered at Sewell Park April 21 for free games, Battle of the Bands and live country music from Spotify Spotlight artist Dylan Scott—all a part of the 14th Annual Riverfest.
Event volunteers began handing out wristbands at 5 p.m., although students lounging at Bikini Hill got to see Riverfest behind the scenes. SACA members started setting up hot dog stands, organization tables and the main stage at around 8 a.m.
Maria Galindo, SACA executive coordinator, said a lot of work went into putting Riverfest 2017 together—especially since this was the first year coordinators included games and activities.
Students could win games to get tickets, which could be traded in for free prizes. Those with four tickets got a free T-shirt, people with three won a water bottle and participants who earned one received a river pouch or Frisbee.
Joey Moody, biochemistry junior, won a free T-shirt and enjoyed being able to be active at Riverfest.
“It’s nice to have things to do that are free and open for everyone,” Moody said. “We’re making use of all the things the university provides and enjoying how beautiful San Marcos is.”
Other than games, organizations and local businesses were able to set up tables, talk to attendees and sell or give away free merchandise. Barefoot Campus Outfitters, Hillside Ranch, Treehouse Apartments, Raising Canes and Verts sponsored Riverfest.
Raising Canes served free lemonade and sweet tea, Poptopia handed out free frozen treats and the University Police Department gave attendees hot dogs. Free water was also provided.
In between sets, SACA members shot free T-shirts out of a cannon into the crowd, while everyone yelled and got on their feet to become a lucky winner.
A panel of judges watched and critiqued all three performances, which had the crowd applauding and dancing along. At around 8 p.m., the judges hit the drawing board to tally up points and declare the winner of Battle of the Bands.
Blu Moon, the four-piece experimental band from San Marcos, gave an intimate and groovy performance, which handed them the Battle of the Bands title.
Cameron Hancock, computer science freshman, said he enjoyed the Battle of the Bands portion of Riverfest because it introduced him to new music.
“It was pretty cool,” Hancock said. “I really liked the new, different bands and I like that they played music I’ve never heard before. I enjoyed Blu Moon’s sound.”
Shortly after a crew got the stage ready, Dylan Scott was welcomed to San Marcos as students hopped to their feet and cheered him on.
Scott opened the free concert with “My Town,” and invited attendees to come closer to the stage barricaded by a gate. A flock of students jumped up and ran to the gate to get a better view of the well-known country artist.
His song “My Girl” has over 29,000,000 streams on Spotify, and fans were singing along to the live version. Scott also performed some acoustic covers of “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, along with songs by George Strait and Alan Jackson.
Anastasiya Gay, economics sophomore, is a fan of old country and enjoyed how Scott incorporated his own versions of classic hits into his performance.
“He sang some older songs and everybody started singing along, so that was pretty cool,” Gay said. “I was pretty happy because he sang Alan Jackson and George Straight—and I love them.”
After Scott’s performance came to a close, the audience gave him a standing ovation and either made their way home or mingled some more at Sewell Park.
Although this was her first Riverfest to attend, Gay said she would attend another one because SACA organized it so well.
“I think the school did a great job organizing this because everyone came out and the weather was so wonderful,” Gay said. “I think it’s great when people go outside and spend time at the park.”
Jennifer Ramirez, business management freshman, said she enjoyed that the event encouraged everyone to get outside and preserve the San Marcos River.
Kelsey McCoy, SACA graduate advisor, said last year’s Riverfest welcomed more than 2,000 attendees. Organizers expected around 4,000 guests this year, and only hope the event grows in the future.
“We are looking into expanding SACA’s traditional spring event,” McCoy said. “One of SACA’s goals is to give Riverfest more of a carnival feel next year.”