FallFest, West Virginia University’s annual welcome-back celebration, will kick off the 2009-10 school year with a concert featuring popular hip-hop artist Akon, rock band Third Eye Blind and country star Kellie Pickler. FallFest 2009 will also feature Pittsburgh natives Girl Talk and Grand Buffet in the Mountainlair Ballroom, a film festival in the Gluck Theatre and comedy shows in Hatfields. Gates will open at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 24.
Five time Grammy Award-nominated hip-hop artist Akon will headline the Mountainlair Plaza concert. Akon burst onto the scene in 2004 with his debut album Trouble, featuring the hit songs “Locked Up” and “Lonely,” but it was his second album that catapulted him to stardom.
Known for polished collaborations with fellow artists such as Eminem (“Smack That”), Gwen Stefani (“Sweet Escape”), Snoop Dogg (“I Wanna Love You”), and Michael Jackson (“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”), Akon has seemingly conquered the music industry. He recently became the first solo artist to hold both the number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100. His latest record, Freedom, has spawned the catchy songs, “Right Now (Na, Na, Na),” and “Beautiful” and is already certified as a gold record. Akon will take the stage at approximately 10:45 p.m.
Third Eye Blind brings a little bit of the ‘90s back with their alternative rock sound. Best known for their mega-hits like “Semi-Charmed Life,” “Jumper,” and “How’s it Going to Be,” the band has released three critically-acclaimed records and an EP since their successful debut.
Led by singer/writer Stephan Jenkins, Third Eye Blind’s unique combination of brutal and controversial lyrics mixed with infectious melodies has given them an indelible connection with fans throughout the decade. Their highly anticipated new record, Ursa Major, is packed with the style of music that once defined them and will continue to carry them through future years as a triumphant and affable alternative rock band. The band will perform at about 9 p.m.
Kellie Pickler has successfully paved her own path in the country music world after performing on season five of “American Idol.” Her 2006 debut album certified gold after only three months and garnered three Top 15 hits, including “Red High Heels” and “I Wonder.” Pickler has won various songwriting awards and three CMT Music Awards, and holds two nominations each for the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Country Music Association Awards.
Pickler’s new, self-titled album debuted in the Top Ten on the Billboard 200 and has spawned her most successful single to date, “Best Days of Your Life,” co-written by close friend Taylor Swift. Pickler will open the Plaza concert at 7:30 p.m.
The Mountainlair Ballroom will also feature prominent disc jockey and creative mind Greg Gillis, better known under his stage name, Girl Talk. Using only his laptop as his instrument, he creates mashup-style remixes, sampling a dozen or more different songs to generate a new one. His most recent record, Feed the Animals, landed in various magazines’ top album of the year lists, including Rolling Stone, Time, and Blender. Girl Talk is more focused on the art of the sampling and developing new tracks that have their own character, which has led him to critical acclaim. A visceral culture of audience involvement has also become key to the live Girl Talk experience, in what has quickly become one of the most entertaining and exhilarating live shows around. Girl Talk will perform at 10:30 p.m.
Grand Buffet, a hip-hop duo from Pittsburgh with a unique brand of humorous and often satirical rap music, will open the Mountainlair Ballroom show at 9:30 p.m. The duo, comprised of Jackson O’Connell-Barlow and Jarrod Weeks, has toured with notable artists such as Girl Talk, Of Montreal, Streetlight Manifesto, MGMT and Sage Francis.
FallFest 2009 will also feature two comedy shows by nationally touring comedians, Ward Anderson and Dave Waite. Anderson has quickly become one of the hottest young comedians working today. His high-energy, physical comedy has made him a favorite with comedy club and college audiences everywhere. He is also the author of The Ultimate Bachelor’s Guide, a satire about life as a single man in a world filled with married couples. Dave Waite is a self-proclaimed square peg who found happiness when he stopped trying to fit in. His tales of personal failure and his oddball stories have won the love of audiences young and old alike. After finding comedy in 2004, he quickly gained a solid reputation as one of the Midwest’s wittiest and most unpredictable young comics. The comedy show will begin at 9 p.m.
The Mountainlair Gluck Theatre will be paying homage to British director Guy Ritchie. The film festival will begin at 7:30 p.m. with Ritchie’s 2000 hit “Snatch,” starring Brad Pitt, Benicio del Toro and Jason Statham. At 9:30 p.m., the theatre will show the director’s 1998 film “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” featuring Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher and Jason Statham. No movie tickets are required.
FallFest is free to WVU students with valid University IDs. Gates will open at 7 p.m. (Please note: the Mountainlair will be closed from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.) A special tent will be set up in front of the Mountainlair beginning at 7 p.m. to assist WVU students with ID questions. WVU students are permitted one guest age 17 or older and must obtain a guest ticket at the tent in front of the Mountainlair. Legal beverages will be available to students 21 and older. Alternative beverages and food will also be available. The PRT will run until 1 a.m., and buses will run between the Mountainlair and the Evansdale Campus until the conclusion of the event.
Set times are approximate and subject to change. For more event information, call 304-293-SHOW or visit WVU Arts & Entertainment online at www.events.wvu.edu.
Arts and Entertainment
Office: (304) 293-8222