OH-Fest 8 Performers Officially Announced

Ari Saati, Editor-in-Chief

RETURN TO NEAHWA: OH-Fest 6 headliner, Pitbull, plays to a crowd of 9,000 students and community members, the biggest turnout in the festival’s history.
RETURN TO NEAHWA: OH-Fest 6 headliner, Pitbull, plays to a crowd of 9,000 students and community members, the biggest turnout in the festival’s history.

OH-Fest 8’s lineup has been officially released, including headlining performances from The Ready Set and Outasight, as well as a still undetermined cover band and local act to be chosen via a battle of bands. This year’s joint SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick-curated concert is set to return to Neahwa park with free admission, after last year’s performances from Mac Miller and Girl Talk, both of which were held on Oneonta’s campus and had charged for admission.

Following Pitbull’s performance at 2011’s OH-Fest 6, city officials mandated the concert be moved from the downtown venue, citing a lack of security and inappropriate content. “This year especially we wanted to be super careful, for the future of OH-Fest, if we want to keep it downtown we can’t start off with an artist that the city can close down. Pitbull was controversial, we didn’t want to put another artist out there who the city could deem controversial in the future. which is why we were extremely careful this year,” said MaryBeth Carswell, President of Student Association Activities Council (SAAC).

In an effort to bring the concert back to Neahwa park and include city officials in the booking of the performer, two city council members have been added to the selection committee, which is comprised of SUNY Oneonta’s SAAC and Hartwick College’s Hartwick Campus Activities Board (HCAB). The council members don’t vote, but their inclusion was crucial in recognizing the city’s voice in planning an event that has increasingly become as much a part of the larger community as the colleges.

“Pitbull did a perfectly clean show, but the fact is that when you don’t have people in the room, it’s easy to mistrust each other. So having the council members there, they don’t get a say, but they get to see how seriously [SAAC and HCAB] takes it in making a decision. If they had been in the room two years ago, we might not have had the same issues,” said Bill Harcleroad, Director of Campus Activities and SAAC advisor.

Privately hired security for this year’s performance will also be mandated in the agreement, an expense that will be carried by Main Street Oneonta, which is a collection of Oneonta’s small businesses. The security will work with the Oneonta Police Department (OPD), allowing local officials to respond to calls throughout the city: “It appears that the event, which began several years ago as a community wide event in the downtown area and park, has turned into a city-wide block party in that there are huge parties all throughout the residential area starting early in the day and extending into the evening…We were stretched to the limit,” Lt. Dennis Nayor of OPD told the Daily Star after OH-Fest 6.

The announcement of this year’s main performers was initially released on the The Ready Set’s website while Hartwick was on break, forcing SAAC to remain quiet regarding the announcement until the college resumed classes on February 11. Social media gave voice to both student bodies in unprecedented ways following the premature release, most notably SUNY Oneonta sophomore, Chris Herb’s petition “SUNY Oneonta SAAC and Hartwick College: Do not have The Ready Set perform at OH-Fest.”

The online petition received over 800 signatures before Herb voluntarily took it down: “Many people weren’t happy, so I just figured I’d start this, but I never expected it to get to the point that it did,” said Herbs. “There might be a flaw in the selection process if in just under 24 hours you have 800 people showing their displeasure with the selection.”

SAAC and HCAB use an open-response voting system, in which students aren’t given a limited list to pick from, but can recommend any artist for the annual spring festival. “I think the open list idea has proven itself here, look who we’ve had. We’ve had B.O.B, we’ve had Pitbull, we’ve had Lupe Fiasco, Mac Miller…We have to take our list and match it up with Hartwick’s list, which are very different, our student bodies are so different it’s crazy. So when we do find a commonality with someone like The Ready Set, we have to go with that,” said Hacleroad.

OH-Fest 8’s return to Neahwa Park is set to take place on Saturday, April 27.

The Ready Set’s “Love like Woe”

Outasight’s “Tonight is the Night”


  1. Wow, I don’t know where to begin with the horrible attempt at justification for bringing a musical act for OH fest that NO ONE wants….there was a petition with 800 signatures saying DONT bring this guy for god’s sake! I really hope none of you are event planning majors because musical acts for events is something no one involved with SAAC should be responsible for…why was pitbull the biggest OH fest in history? because people actually listen to that music!! At least don’t have the pure audacity to try and make a profit off this by charging for tickets

  2. Oh don’t worry this O-fest will not have a lack of security due to the fact like 6 people will show up. This an absolute joke I would rather listen to a townie scrape a quarter on a washing board than these guys

  3. Has anyone considered having local bands play in the park instead? Oneonta is known for its music program… Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to hire a band that no one is interested in when there are a handful of decent bands on campus that I’m sure would draw a crowd. We’ve got jazz, brass, punk, post hard core… Why not give the students a chance to play?

  4. Hi Ari,

    I came across this article while searching for who would be playing OH Fest this year and I must correct you on your statement about last year’s OH Fest having the largest turnout in the history of the event.

    In the inaugural year of OH Fest (2006), Robert Randolph & The Family Band and Blues Traveler performed in Neahwa Park and the attendance was estimated at 15,000+. It was the largest outdoor event in the city’s history.

    To the Students who are unhappy with the musical choice: The SAAC does its very best to please both college campuses and the Oneonta community; Year after year it is a struggle to find the best possible fit for the concert in the park. The nighttime concert is only one part of the event – I encourage you to enjoy the other activities that day and have an open mind. You may just enjoy yourself – the students/staff working to put on this event are working harder than you’ll ever know and they cannot possibly please everyone. I wish I could have had four years of OH Fest! I was very lucky to experience the first two – Robert Randolph & The Family Band KILLED it the first year.

    Go check it out and have an open mind. You will have fun. Go for me ok? If you see Bill Harcleroad around campus – take a minute to thank him for ensuring that this wonderful event continues year after year. His vision and guidance has helped to make this an annual event and the students at SUCO should be proud to have him as their campus activities director. Miss You Bill!

    Best Regards,

    Zack Wischnia…’07
    OH Fest Organizer Y1/Y2

    • 3 things: 1) Wischnia, it is nice to see you still stalk Oneonta 🙂
      2)I agree on all accounts. SAAC (it will always be CUAC to me), is one of the largest funded programs on campus, but it still has limited means and can only get performers within the budget who are available the day of the concert and are OK with an outdoor setting. And Bill Harcleroad is AWESOME!!!!!!
      3) To those who think the music talent on campus should play- they often do! A battle of the bands to determine who will play on stage at the concert has happened, and hopefully still does!

      If you are iffy on the bands, like Zack said, check out the main street attractions, and try the concert out. Who knows, maybe it’ll expand your mind. And who doesnt like free?

  5. Ah ha ha, I am SOOOOO glad that I was Class of 2011, because we certainly had the BEST OH Fest concert there has been to date. Pitbull was amazing, what a show and way to leave Oneonta!

    The OH Fest committe and town need to realize collelge aged students do not want to hear teeny bopper artists like The Ready Set, and corny artists like Outasight. At least stick to what OH Fest normally does and get the traditional 90-00s Pop Rock band to perform. Thats a lot more in tune with college students than who they selected for this year.

    Class of 2011, we had B.o.B for our Fall 2010 concert and Pitbull for our OH Fest concert. 2010-2011 will never be topped! Until they grab a better act, I will not come back to celebrate OH Fest in Oneonta :/

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