Swoop Rock Music Festival: Where tools merged to play on fancy equipment undeservingly


By Kim Nelson

Student Government does it again! They’ve managed to assemble a bundle of musicians capable of willing me to drill two extremely sharp pencils into each of my ears.

I had originally planned to attend Swoop Rock music festival as a joke with my roommate as a humorous throwback to the days when we seriously listened to this crap (we were obviously confused). So when our Media Adviser John Timpe offered me two press passes to get inside the madness, I excitedly accepted. While yes, I was offered a chance to interview these “music” making tools, I confidently declined.

Honestly, I didn’t want to make them cry and/or piss them off when I’d inevitably ask them if they’re OK with the fact that their target audience is 12-year-olds and that they’re in their late twenties to early thirties?

Obviously, I didn’t go into this with a neutral mindset (my bad). I knew it was going to suck, but of course I jumped on the chance to state my opinion, after all, I am a journalist and employee at the Spinnaker … it’s only natural.

After grabbing the office digi-cam and a notepad, I headed down to the UNF Amphitheater to start the festivities.

The Maine and Cartel blended together into one mushy set of button ups, Ray-Ban wayfarers and bored me to death. There was a sad display of attendees (I think SG forgot once again that we’re college students, not lunchbox-owning teeny boppers) that just further contributed toward my boredom.

Hellogoodbye dazzled me with a Dave Matthews Band cover song — of course …

I have two problems with this: One, is it still 1995? And two, why must you continue to perpetuate the stereotype that college-aged students are way into DMB? It’s a bad trend to encourage, you can’t scat, Forest Scott Kline so don’t try, and unless they decided to cover a track from Crash which they didn’t, it’s highly unlikely that any member of the audience knew what was coming out of their highfalutin, out-of-their-league PA.

By the time We the Kings hopped up on the stage, my roommate and I were almost to the point of power pop insanity when … alas … a Jimmy Eat World cover graced our eardrums and the surprisingly dense crowd’s eyes’ widened with the sound of the standard radio jam “The Middle.” The mood was immediately elevated.

I decided to let my pretentious vibe let loose (in the spirit of silly music) and proceeded to flail my arms in the air whilst shaking my hips and screaming and pointing at one of their wayfarer-sporting sound technicians.

We may or may not have then been invited into their tour bus afterward, and we may or may not have decided to accept their possible invitation, but that’s not really the point now is it?

The point is, it astounds me and quite frankly, saddens me that SG and Osprey Productions doesn’t have better taste. And if they’re merely giving the student population what they want, shouldn’t those in power feel more civilly responsible to direct UNF’s misdirected and totally musically ignorant 75 percent into the light?

If we EVER want to revamp our lackluster music reputation and score some really notable artists on our campus, we’re going to have to actually make our campus appealing to these guys. Musicians don’t play lame venues. Duh.

Perhaps they should consider giving Jacksonville’s bountiful local scene a chance (and maybe take a hint from the many expressions pages of the Spinnaker which showcase these humble talents), or take a hint from UF of FSU’s event production teams … not the God forsaken radio or what comes out of the beach bars’ overhead speakers.