Dragonfly 2020 won’t generate the same images that the annual, student-run concert event has in the past: hundreds, if not thousands, of students gathering together in the University City Campus’ F Lot to sing, dance and jump along to the music of both popular and student artists.
But though organizers had to institute a plan-B virtual scenario for this year’s event due to COVID-19, Drexel students will actually get more bang for their buck because of it — that is, they’ll have the opportunity to see six performances for the price of, well, free.
“At first were thinking, you know, a three-hour-long concert on a stream is a little bit harder to watch than being in a place for three hours,” said Maxwell Nash, a third-year entertainment arts management student who is director of University Concert Board, which compiles a group of student representatives from Dragon Concert Series and the Campus Activities Board to put on Dragonfly each year. “So we thought, ‘Hey, maybe we'll actually split this up into a few different concerts.’ When we started thinking that, I can't say I imagined doing six, but that was a happy deal that we found with our great agent.”
The Dragonfly 2020 performance series kicks off Oct. 7 and features an event each Wednesday from 9–11 p.m. through Nov. 4, and a mystery headliner event on Nov. 14.
The already announced artist line-up includes: Los-Angeles-based electronic trio Cheat Codes (Oct. 7); Washington D.C.-area rapper Rico Nasty (Oct. 14); all-female indie pop quartet the Aces (Oct. 21); Emmy-nominated television personality, podcaster and hairstylist as seen on Netflix’s “Queer Eye” Jonathan Van Ness (Oct. 28); and comedian, actor, impressionist and “Saturday Night Live” cast member Chloe Fineman (Nov. 4).
Nash explained that these five events were offered as a package by the booking company University Concert Board engages for Dragonfly each year, called Concert Ideas. There will actually be students from 13 other colleges around the country tuning in for these performances, but Drexel Dragons will have their own privatized streaming room where they can engage with their peers.
“One of the best parts about going to concerts, I feel, is meeting new people and just kind of being in that collective environment with a large group of others,” he said. “So I'm super excited that there's a chat feature and Drexel students will be able to chat with each other, find out maybe who likes what music.”
Atoosa Scheuer, a third-year double majoring in psychology and marketing who is the marketing manager for University Concert Board, added that though the pandemic made it impossible to come together physically for the event a “definite bright spot” is being able to now do a six-part series.
“Because we're able to bring in six different artists, we're able to cater to a lot of different like music genres that people like and even have two comedians this year, which we don't usually do for Dragonfly,” she said. “One of our challenges every year is finding an artist that all people will enjoy, due to people having different preferences. This year, it's really great that we're able to present a spectrum of artist and genres. That's what I'm really excited about!"
Though the acts for the sixth show have yet to be announced, the organizers said they wanted to offer this finale event in order to feature one student artist, in keeping with Dragonfly tradition, as well as a final headliner.
Students interested in attending one or all of these events can find ticketing information on the Dragonfly website. Once you click the ticketing link, you will be prompted to create an account on the Looped platform — make sure to use your Drexel email to gain access. Once you reserve your e-ticket, that will be your access to the streaming room for all six events.
Each week leading up to the virtual performances, organizers will also be conducting giveaways on Instagram where undergraduate students can win gift cards from a variety of vendors. For your change to win, make sure to follow along at @drexeldragonfly and take the appropriate steps to enter.
All in all, organizers hope Drexel students are excited to participate in everything that’s in store for Dragonfly 2020, albeit they’ll be participating from home.
“I know that, with sitting at home a lot of the time, it's good to have things to do,” Scheuer said. “It's great that we’re still able to put this on for Drexel students to have things to do and to watch with friends over the virtual format.”
“I think it's super exciting to get to give the Drexel community kind of that interaction that they might be missing otherwise,” Nash added. “[It has been] a lot more difficult to have that social connection that we usually get through classes and through on-campus events and everything going on on campus. … So I'm really excited to be watching them myself for that, and I recommend for other students to watch for the same reasons. And of course, having these great artists, it’s so cool that we're able to watch that for free.”