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Up & Up festival featuring Loud Luxury brings energy to the University's EDM scene

After winning the Up & Up Festival competition, students organized an EDM festival at the Jefferson Theatre and got the crowd jumping

<p>In addition to playing their own original songs — including their hits “Body” (feat. Brando), ''I’m Not Alright” and “Love No More” — Loud Luxury also added fun twists with new beats and mashups of pop numbers.</p>

In addition to playing their own original songs — including their hits “Body” (feat. Brando), ''I’m Not Alright” and “Love No More” — Loud Luxury also added fun twists with new beats and mashups of pop numbers.

Students dressed in neon and glitter walked into the Jefferson Theatre Thursday anticipating an engaging show and walked out more than satisfied. With EDM events being a rare occurrence at the University, the Up & Up Festival — sponsored by Monster Energy — brought smoke and flashing lights to Grounds in front of a sold-out crowd.

The concert featured Canadian duo Andrew Fedyk and Joe De Pace, known as Loud Luxury. The opening lineup consisted of four students, alumni and local DJs – fourth-year Engineering student Kai Wong of “Kai,” University alumnus Sayer Paige of “Packline Music,” University alumnus Nick Del Rosso of “Olsen” and Teddy Bloomquist of “Teddy Beats.”

In addition to playing their own original songs — including their hits “Body” (feat. Brando), ''Like Gold” and “Amnesia” — Loud Luxury also added fun twists with new beats and mashups of pop numbers. Seamless transitions into new songs and electric beats that pulsed throughout the venue had the crowd consistently energized and dancing to the music.

Visual effects also added to the ambience of the show. The music was accompanied by a screen flashing bright colors and stage lights that illuminated the crowd. Machines also frequently released smoke into the audience, contributing to the rave-like energy.

With the selection of music, the enthusiastic crowd and the visual effects at the Jefferson Theatre, the show provided for a thrilling and enjoyable experience.

The University was one of four schools to win this event through the Up & Up Festival competition. During a 48-hour period that lasted from Sept. 14 to 16, University students competed with over 70 universities to have the most ticket sales with a total of 750 sold. Considering this was the first time the University participated in the competition, being one of the winners and beating out other schools that have previously won is an impressive feat. This outcome was a result of hard work from the University’s Up & Up ambassadors, including fourth-year College student Finnegan O’Dell.

O’Dell described his job as an ambassador in an email to The Cavalier Daily as one with three phases — pre-competition, the competition itself and production of the show after winning the competition. 

The pre-competition stage began with reaching out and bringing together a team with diverse skill sets, while the competition stage consisted of promoting the competition on social media and through conversations with peers. After winning the competition, O’Dell and the other ambassadors secured a venue for the show and put together an opening lineup to play before Loud Luxury. 

“Our team worked really hard and spread the word a lot, with tabling and social media presence,” O’Dell said. “But the students bought in, which was even more important.”

After organizing the event, O’Dell reflected on the significance of winning the competition and making the show possible, as well as what it means for the future of EDM at the University.

“This is the first year that [the competition] has existed at U.Va., and I cannot wait to see how we progress next semester," O’Dell said. “Having this concert become a reality has been an incredible experience … EDM shows are scarce around here and this one came because we, as a collective student body, said to. I find that amazing. This will help us grow our community and put on even bigger shows.”

After securing the show, the Up & Up ambassadors are looking to apply for CIO status with the University. They are hoping to use University facilities for a potential show in the spring and to expand their team through an application and interview process.

O’Dell saidt the progress he and his team – particularly fellow ambassadors Annabelle Flood and Asia Kurtalic who were important and instrumental throughout the process – made in winning the competition, impressive student turnout and high ticket sales have all made him excited to be able to provide a new experience for students and to continue pushing the University's EDM scene.

“We went from zero experience to most tickets sold in the entire country in less than two months while many schools have had active ambassadors for years,” O’Dell said. “I think as a team we have shown our capability and dedication, and as a school we have shown our ability to come together and our community interest in EDM. I am extremely excited about the future of Up & Up at U.Va.”

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