University of California, Riverside kicked off the start of their school year with a party that drew students from many neighboring campuses, including California Baptist University and California State, San Bernardino.
Everything from bacon-wrapped hot dogs to vegetarian style Indian tacos were found at the University of California, Riverside Block Party on Sept. 24. Local college students walked by with Henna tattoos, painted faces and caricatures. Sororities and fraternities were even out in full force.
With the sun setting, students and their guests wandered the booths and spontaneously broke into dance as the DJ spun everything from Usher to techno. Promotional giveaways and flyers were abundant and the crowd seemed pleased.
UCR’s percussion team performed under the historic bell tower sending thunderous vibrations throughout the lawn as people enjoyed the laid back atmosphere.
The main attraction however, was not the information booths, food stands or clubs handing out flyers. Even the Highlander cheerleaders were ignored once the stage located on the center lawn lit up like Disneyland’s Electrical Parade.
Like a great migration, people moved to the stage ready to party. The first artist to perform was J Cole, a rapper from North Carolina who said he had never had a real performance in California before.
J Cole sauntered out onto the stage and welcomed the crowd with colorful and expres- sive language. His silver rosary sparkled in the lighting that continuously changed hues, directions and effects in rhythm with the music. Smoke from the crowd eventually began to mingle with that which was being spewed from the back of the stage. Two big screens on either side of the stage allowed everyone in the huge crowd to enjoy the craziness.
“The crowd was rowdy and rude but the best part about being at block party was that I was with some of my good friends to enjoy the music,” Desiree Lejat, a UCR freshman, said.
After an intermission, Estelle graced the stage. The British star, known best for her 2008 Grammy winning song “American Boy” which featured Kanye West, opened with “Freak.” She danced around the stage and encouraged the crowd to sing along, even if they didn’t know the lyrics.
Frisbees flew from every direction as students tossed them to the night sky along with balloons that bounced around above the crowd.
The Cool Kids finished up the night’s entertainment, and the crowd showed no signs of tiring.
“It was crowded, lots of free stuff, and really cool because they had concerts going on the whole time. It was really cool for the people who go to UCR to learn more about the programs they offer,” Kelsey Doolittle, a CBU freshman who attended the Block Party, said.