Juice Jam is the first highly-anticipated event on campus that brings students and organizations together for a festival-style lineup hosted by University Union. Every year, students await the announcement of the lineup so they can buy their trendiest outfits and prepare for the day’s haul. The 2019 Juice Jam lineup included 21 Savage, EARTHGANG, Fletcher, Mt. Joy and Kilo Kish.
Kilo Kish, originally a hip hop artist, transitioned into indie pop through recent releases. Mt. Joy followed Kilo Kish on the main stage, performing some of their debut indie folk album that was released in 2018. They are quickly rising in popularity. EARTHGANG, the rap duo from Atlanta, have always had an independent approach to their music. When they were approached by J.Cole to sign with his label they jumped at the opportunity. When Dreamville released its label album, Revenge of the Dreamers III, EARTHGANG drew mainstream attention.
Each performer engaged the crowd with their music. Prior to Sunday, many students, like myself, were mainly excited to see headliner 21 Savage. However, there were a handful of students who were just as excited to see FLETCHER, an up-and-coming indie pop artist who recently released an EP entitled you ruined new york city for me. I would be lying if I said I had heard her name before the lineup came out. However, when I listened to this EP in preparation for Juice Jam I fell in love with her music. I was lucky enough to meet FLETCHER backstage and talk with her. After this, I was even more inspired by her sincerity in her music and her message.
FLETCHER’s authentic vibe is clearly reflected in her unique sound. She is known for being vulnerable and honest in her songs. I asked her how she keeps her songs relatable rather than cliché. She said, “As long as you’re telling stories that are personal to you, then it’s not going to be cliché.” FLETCHER is an artist who is not afraid to play with how she creates her songs. She said one of the new songs on the EP, titled “Strangers,” was one of the hardest to write because it was completely written from a Facebook message between her ex and her. This type of experimental songwriting can be difficult, but works when the message is strong. After speaking with FLETCHER for a while I was so excited to see her perform. From her first song, she visibly loved the energy of the crowd and inspired dancing and singing even from people, like myself, who had never previously heard her content. Fans definitely felt her energy and are excited to listen to more of her music.
Following the electric performance by FLETCHER, 21 Savage came short of expectations. As a recording artist, 21 Savage is incredibly influential in hip-hop. As a performer, he has received mixed reviews. Many rappers make use of their “hype man,” a member of their crew who stands behind them, drops the beats and encourages the crowd to hype them up. During 21’s performance it felt like he really was there to get the job done and get off the stage. He only said a sentence or two between his songs and gave more room for his hype man to do his job. Did this stop the crowd from getting hype to his music and mosh pitting? Definitely not. Students who have been partying for most of the day could not be let down by a performer who really just walks across the stage and raps.
University Union also offered a silent disco, inflatable bounce houses and a polaroid trailer students could resort to if mosh pitting is not exactly their vibe. Overall, Juice Jam this year was a success. Every performer showed up and showed out while University Union put on a flawless festival for students to enjoy on one of our last warm Sundays.