So How Did Champs Downtown Book The Jonas Brothers?
To those who don’t go to Penn State, the Jonas Brothers showing up at Champs Downtown on a Friday night to debut their new single “Cool” probably seemed like the most random thing ever. In fact, the surprise performance nearly broke Twitter.
However, the Jonas Brothers’ set at Champs didn’t come out of nowhere. It wasn’t random. It wasn’t a promotional bit for their latest single. Was it fate? Perhaps. Friendship? More likely.
It all started with a Barstool-sponsored Twitter bracket. You’ve seen it all over your timeline — the #BarstoolBestBar bracket, a contest pitting the top bar from 64 of the nation’s finest institutions of higher education against each other to eventually crown a champion by popular vote.
Once the seeding was announced and Champs saw that it was a one-seed, it became manager Dante Lucchesi’s goal to bring home the gold.
“When it started, all of the other Big Ten schools started to campaign against us, so we were looking for an edge,” Lucchesi said.
Enter Joe Jonas — Penn State’s saving grace.
Lucchesi reached out to an old friend from high school, Phil McIntyre, the Jonas Brothers’ manager.
“I called him and was like, ‘Do you think Joe could Tweet us some support?’ That was the only time I asked him to help, and I thought it would just be like a retweet or something,” Lucchesi said.
Sure enough, Jonas delivered…and then he overdelivered.
“I asked him for that first Tweet, but everything after that was just Joe being a genuinely nice dude and showing us love,” Lucchesi said. Even so, haters have tried to claim that the vote was rigged or that Champs paid Jonas for his support.
Another friend from State High, Matt Petroff, put Lucchesi in direct contact with Joe Jonas as Champs continued to advance in the competition, and they started to cook up some promotional plans. Lucchesi also thanked his mutually connected friends John Taylor, Chris Ganter, and B.J. Ganter for their roles in taking Champs to this next level and getting Joe Jonas on board.
Of course, Joe Jonas’ relationship with Champs goes further back than just his performance downtown with DNCE in 2017, as he alluded in his first Tweet of support.
No, he didn’t actually celebrate his 21st at Champs Downtown. As Twitter warriors were quick to point out, the downtown location was still a Chili’s when Joe Jonas turned 21. However, he did celebrate at the Champs on North Atherton, Lucchesi confirmed.
“They had just done a show near here — in Harrisburg or Hershey or something like that, and they wanted to come to Penn State to celebrate Joe’s 21st…We took him to the Phyrst to have his first legal drink because, you know, it’s a rite of passage, so we went there and did a pretty good job of keeping it low-key before going to Champs to have a private party for him,” Lucchesi said.
Apparently, it was love at first sight for Joe and Champs. His support for the bar has been unwavering since the first round of the bracket, which brings us to last Friday’s performance.
“The whole thing happened pretty organically,” Lucchesi said. “On Wednesday, their manager called and was like, ‘Do you want to make this happen?’ So we put it all together in a few days and did our best to keep a lid on it — which we obviously didn’t do a great job of because the word got out quickly.”
…which was apparent by the line outside of Champs on Friday night.
The surprise Jonas Brothers concert was a way for Champs to show some love to all of the students who supported the bar in the contest — beyond all of the crazy deals it has rolled out with each round of the bracket, like $.50 wings and $2 Long Islands and Dirty Sprites. And it was all made possible by a group of old friends helping each other out, according to Lucchesi.
Now, Champs is in Barstool’s college bar championship pitted against Eastern Carolina University’s Sup Dogs. The voting starts today at 2 p.m. You can cast your official vote by tweeting ‘#BarstoolChamps #BarstoolBestBar’ to see what Champs has in store if it wins the whole thing.
“That’s what I’m working on now,” Lucchesi said with a sly grin. “But we have to focus on winning first.”
We’re not sure what he has up his sleeve, but the current plan — as far as we know — is to have at least Joe Jonas come back to be the ‘Grand Marshal’ of the celebration
if when Champs brings it home, rather than do another performance.
“If we win, we want Joe to be able to sit back and celebrate with us, and we want to be able to thank him for all of the love he’s given us during the competition,” Lucchesi said.
Champs is currently in the process of trying to book some other surprise acts for the party
if when it wins, but you’ll just have to go vote if you want to find out what’s in store for the victory celebration.
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About the Author
“We’re kind of like a really quirky frat that happens to know far too much about tea.”
The festival is a family affair for the newly-named executive director of Movin’ On 2020, Michelle Mischler. Her sister, Katie, served as the executive director for the 2017 and 2018 festivals.
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