The day started off normally. Little to no clouds in the sky, the beautiful green grass reflecting vibrantly from the rays from the sun, students lounging around and waiting for the excitement of the night to arrive.
Students lined up in Lake Lot 1, ready to show their wristbands and enter into UC Merced’s 1st Cowchella that did not take place at The Bowl. Spread out amongst the parking lot were different activities and games designed to provide endless entertainment for the attendees. Right in front, as always, was the Rockstar tent providing free cans of Rockstar to everyone. Other booths included a carnival style basketball hoop, bracelet making (promoted by ASUCM), and even a Water Pong tournament. The event also hosted two inflatable obstacle courses and local Merced food vendors: Sam’s Cafe, Los Reyes Tacos, and the Cupcake Lady.
Something else unique about Cowchella this year was that several of our talented fellow Bobcats were given the opportunity to perform on a smaller stage in front of just as large of an audience. Listeners were treated to beautiful covers of pop culture songs, original raps, an extremely talented band, and even a great performance by Revol Heights, an aspiring rapper.
For the main event, we were treated to the energetic Emcees, KC Kemp and DeVaughn Ogles. They did an amazing job of hyping up the crowd and making sure the energy never died down. As the sun slowly crept down the sky, DJ Swizzy Mack took the stage. He played a cool mix of music including rap, pop, and even beginning his set with one of Journey’s greatest hits. Following him was Nina Sky, the female duo that was formed in 2003 by twin sisters Nicole and Natalie Albino. Famous for their 2004 hit, “Move Ya Body,” the sisters got on stage and wowed the crowd with their energy and charisma. Nicole thought, “The energy was amazing. Being on stage was fun,” while Natalie said that they were “Thankful to be here. The vibes you guys gave off were great.” They both agreed that through the reaction of the crowd, they accomplished their mission of having a fun and engaging time here at UC Merced.
After them was the performance everyone was waiting for, B.o.B.. At about 9:30pm, the rapper took the stage and gave the crowd a whole new burst of energy. He performed several of his well known hits including, “Magic,” “Headbands,” and “Nothin On You,” never failing to have the crowd dancing and singing along. B.o.B. also performed a lot of the raps he was featured in such as “Paranoid” by Ty Dolla $ign. The new song “4 Lit” was also on the set list for the night but in the end, the rapper culminated his performance with the classic song, “Airplanes” with the crowd singing the portion originally performed by Haley Williams.
Overall, B.o.B.’s performance was what everyone was hoping for when first hearing his name as the headliner. He was extremely energetic and engaged well with the crowd, so well that at one point he actually jumped into the crowd and finished off one of the songs while surrounded by UCM students. 2017’s Cowchella was definitely one for the record books.
Picture Credit: Sam Ginete