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A Day of Music at Movin’ On

Of all the great concerts hosted at Penn State throughout the year, the annual spring music festival Movin’ On was by far the most highly anticipated. With this year’s lineup featuring a range of artists like alternative rockers Brand New, rapper Big Boi, and psychedelic rock band MGMT, it’s no wonder that fans traveled from all over the country to be a part of this event.

After a year of planning and a day of preparing the IM field for the thousands of spectators, the festival finally started at 2:30 on Friday afternoon. Thankfully the weather was perfect for a day-long outdoor music festival, reaching a sunny 60° in the middle of the day.

The first act to take the stage was State College ska band The Wondershop Showdown, who are local favorites after performing at last year’s Movin’ On and THON 2013. Even though they hosted a relatively small crowd early in the day, The Wondershop Showdown played a very high-energy set. It was a great first band to pick up the audience and get them going for a long day of live music.

The next act up was Philly pop-punk band Automatic Habit, who picked right up on the energy from The Wondershop Showdown’s set. Even though this band is relatively unknown outside of Philadelphia, they put on an incredible performance at Movin’ On, and have some real potential to grow a larger following. They had great stage presence, interacting and joking with the crowd between rocking the stage with catchy tunes.


Next up was indie rock band Kids These Days. This seven-piece group has one of the most unique sounds and varying influences I’ve ever heard. With pieces of rock n’ roll, blues, hip-hop, and soul, Kids These Days got the crowd grooving to their eclectic beats. Featuring a full brass section along with the traditional rock band setup, they surprised a  lot of concertgoers with their unique take on the indie rock genre. As one audience member put it, “How does a band come together and decide that this is the kind of music they want to play? I don’t care though, because it sounds awesome!”

Photo by Steve Osborn

It wouldn’t be a full-featured festival without some country rock, and that’s where Gloriana comes in. Brought to Movin’ On by the Student Programming Association, Gloriana has a big hit with the audience, playing covers of Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” and Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel”. It was around this time that the crowd started filling up in anticipation of Brand New’s set.

By the time Brand New was preparing to go on at 6:30, the IM West field was almost completely packed. The alt rock legends took the stage to an absolutely wild audience. Brand New started off their set with “Sowing Season,” one of their heavier songs. As the song reached the chorus, booming guitar riffs echoed across the field while vocalist Jesse Lacey screamed “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” It wasn’t long before the crowd broke into mosh pits and crowd surfing.

Photo by Dave Cole

After Brand New’s heavy rocking set, the music headed in a completely different direction with rapper Big Boi. Although one of his backup dancers made some controversial comments before the show, Big Boi was generally well received by the audience. As the sun went down over Happy Valley, the Outkast member dropped rhymes over bass-heavy instrumentals. The crowd went wild as Big Boi played songs like “In The A” and “Apple Of My Eye”.

Photo by Dave Cole

The final act of the day was psychedelic rock band MGMT. Known for their pop-influenced songs like “Electric Feel” and “Kids”, the majority of MGMT’s set was comprised of slower, synth-heavy rock tunes. While the band spent the performance rocking away on their instruments, the stage setup could have been a considered a performance in it’s own right. Featuring an animated screen in the background and lights all around the stage, the show was an incredible visual experience.

Photo by Steve Osborn

Overall, Movin’ On was an awesome music festival and an incredible event. It featured artists that appeal to every kind music lover, and hosts a broad and diverse audience. It provides an outlet for students who are stressed by finals, and seniors who are making the most of their last few days in State College. Most of all, it is all-inclusive, and open to anyone to wants to come to Penn State and enjoy some of the best live music around.

To see more photos of Movin’ On 2013, check out Onward State’s Facebook album.

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About the Author

Zack Rutstein

Penn State 5th-year Materials Science and Engineering student, Onward State Arts Editor, Musician

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