NO-Fest: A Free Alternative to OH-fest

Kamille Gordon, Staff Writer

   OH-fest is an annual celebratory event held late in the spring semester. Funded by SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College, the event attracts thousands of people to Oneonta, including hundreds of alumni. The celebratory festival began in the spring of 2005 making this year’s OH-fest the seventh in the series. This year’s celebration will take place during the week of April 23 to 29 featuring five events at Hartwick College, the carnival on Main Street on Saturday and concerts taking place on the SUNY Oneonta campus on Saturday and Sunday. This year, however, someone is offering an alternative to OH-fest 7, entitled NO-Fest.

   The brain behind the operation is WONY Program Director Andrew Lowden. Lowden explains that NO-Fest was an idea that had been “kicking around his circle of friends for a few years.” He also says that the bands usually brought in for the festival have never been artists that he’s wanted to see, so he wanted to create an alternative. He saw that people were “up in arms” about having to pay money to see this year’s headliners, so he wanted to have a free show during OH-fest weekend that people could go to. There was an attempt to make it happen last year but there wasn’t a sufficient amount of time to put it together. He has booked several acts for NO-Fest through WONY, including featured comedian Kurt Braunohler and three regional bands, including campus favorite Samurai Pizza Cats. Braunohler, who Lowden says is his favorite comedian, has a new television show called “Bunk” coming out on IFC in the summer, has been on “Delocated” and worked with Kristen Schaal.

   “The thing I want to do with this event is to just do something different, and for it to be a really fun time,” Lowden says. “I think having a comedian mixed with a great rock show is something that people haven’t experienced before on campus. I want people to challenge the norm and experience something new, different and fun.” Will NO-Fest become as much of a tradition in Oneonta as OH-Fest? Only time will tell.

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