Spring Quarter ends with a bang with the highly anticipated, sold-out festival
Every year toward the end of the Spring Quarter DePaul University treats its students to the annual end-of-the-year concert celebration, “FEST.” This show consists of multiple student-performing acts, an opener and a headline act that is voted on by the student body. The past performers have included rappers 2Chainz, Lil Yachty, A$AP Ferg and Logic. Despite rumors swirling around campus that New York-based rapper Ice Spice would be this year’s act, the final decision was made for Flo Milli to headline. On Friday, May 26, the sold-out show was held in the Lincoln Park campus quad and included the opening act, California-based rock band Emblem3, and student performers from Battle of the Bands including Superdime, Ocean Child, Zeno Camera and Socks Off.
The annual music festival is held for students and guests of DePaul. Vendors this year included a customized airbrushed station and a temporary tattoo station. Fun activities such as giant bubble-blowing kept folks entertained before the night began. Between the complimentary snacks from DePaul Activities Board (DAB) including chips, granola bars, water and the mini cups of Jeni’s Splendid ice cream, the offerings of the event were at an all-time high.
The opening act, Emblem3, consists of brothers Westley Stromberg, Keaton Stromberg and their best friend, Drew Chadwick. They performed an approximately 30-minute long set including some of their biggest hits, “Chloe” and “Sunset Boulevard.” Their stage presence was decent enough to get the crowd moving, and it was evident that plenty of students were avid listeners of the band. Their goofy, charming and fun personalities were visible throughout their performances as they told plenty of jokes throughout their set. They even joked about their instruments not being turned on (which I could not tell if they were serious or not). Fans were able to get signed autographs of Fest merchandise from the band after their set. This was more than enough to prove their eagerness to please fans and their fun and adventurous personalities.
Of course, the excitement for the headlining act always overpowers all of the other activities included. Flo Milli not only made history as the first black female headlining act for Fest but also introduced a fun, pop-like, animated sound to mainstream rap.
Born Tamia Monique Carter, the Alabama native rose to fame in 2019 after her two biggest hits, “Beef Flomix” and “In the Party,” went viral on TikTok. Both songs became certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, meaning they sold over 500,000 units. In 2020, the 23-year-old rapper released her debut album “H*, why is you here?” including 12 tracks and zero features. Three years later in March, her second album, “You Still Here, H*” was released. Tracks from both of these projects were performed.
Despite being almost an hour late, the highly anticipated show was breathtaking, to say the least. Popping out in a denim v-neck crop top and cargo pants with the popularized deep, side-part bob with flipped ends, the rapper made waves blessing everyone with her presence. “Come Outside” was the opening song, which was an excellent choice to pop out to—although “Like That B–h” would have been quite the entrance, too. The set consisted of songs from both albums.
This night proved that Carter is not new to the stage. As she entered the scene, confidence radiated from her presence. She came out with plenty of energy for the crowd to feed off of, hyping up the audience. “I see a lot of bad b–s in the crowd,” she said, gazing at the female students in the first few rows.
“Like That B–h” served as the fourth song she performed. This was one of the singles most people were able to recite words verbatim. The bass of the beat and her stage presence were immaculate.
Toward the end of the show some more smash hits were recited word for word by the masses. “Beef Flomix” was one of my favorite songs on the setlist. Although Flo Milli doesn’t do full-blown choreography, she definitely knows how to be in rhythm and get the crowd moving.
The most memorable songs afterward were “Weak,” and her feature in the song “We Not Humping (Remix)” with rapper Monaleo. I thought these selections were perfect because not only are these her most popular songs, but they promote her projects to be streamed for students who weren’t familiar with her content.
The show concluded with “In The Party” as her final performance. The fans went so hard that she even performed an encore.
“Let’s run that back,” she said, pleased with the radiating energy she fed off of.
Post-performance the festival held an after-party in the student center for concert goers to play games, have fun and make the most of their night.
Header photo by Varun Khushalani