Bwog Takes Bacchanal Backstage 2017

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Bwog onstage!!

On Saturday, Bwog’s Events Editor Lexie Lehmann had the privilege of receiving a backstage pass to cover press for this year’s Bacchanal. What followed was an afternoon of schmoozing and debauchery. If you were anywhere near the stage on Saturday, you probably caught her badly dancing to the right of the stage or attempting to flirt with DJ Almand.

My friends often ask me how I finesse myself into cool opportunities at Columbia and I honestly think it’s just a product of being in the right place at the right time. This time, I happened to be procrastinating my P3 in Avery Library when Bwog’s lovely EIC reached out to me about the chance to cover Bacchanal backstage. Hell yes. In advance of the event, I was told that it wasn’t likely that I would get to actually meet any of the performers, but that didn’t stop me from keeping my hopes up.

The morning of the event, I dragged myself out of bed to get my press credentials from Bacchanal Staff and Public Safety in Low Library. I have to be honest, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Bwog has had a pretty mixed experience with Bacchanal – from being denied coverage of the event in 2013 due to a “speculative posting of the lineup”, to breaking the story on a Barnard student’s hookup with last year’s headliner – I had some pretty big shoes to fill and I wasn’t quite sure how my own experience would live up to them.

After perusing 114th for a couple hours on Saturday morning, I wandered over to the backstage area around 3:30 and met a lovely security guard named Valentine, who let me into the ~special~ area for “Friends of Performers”. Taking full advantage of the moment, I tried my best to introduce myself to the important looking people backstage (and to solicit some new Instagram followers). Special shout-out to my new friend Montana, a photographer on Bacchanal’s own press staff (a new addition to the committee this year!), and Ross Days, who told me several times that he was friends with one of the headliner’s managers but honestly I forget who. Ross, if you’re reading this, thanks for the follow back and for dancing with me. Also your pink shades were fine as hell.

D.R.A.M. was probably the artist I was most looking forward to performing, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. While I felt a little awkward badly dancing on the side of the stage, I couldn’t help but bop to “Cute” and “Cash Machine”. Such jams.

After D.R.A.M. ended, I headed over to a tent behind the stage where I saw there were crates of water, (ya srry I was thirsty) and also a very attractive looking man that I figured I should introduce myself to. Oh so smoothly, I struck up a conversation – “So why are you here?” I inquired. And literally Guess. Who. It. Was.

“Oh hey”, the cutie responded. “I’m Almand. My name’s actually Joel.”

Omfg!!! Here’s where my lame fangirling actually came in clutch. Despite the smug responses of my friends, I had actually spent a substantial period leading up to Bacchanal following the illustrious DJ Almand and listening to his stuff. If you’re unaware, Ithaca College senior Joel Almand made news last year for signing an exclusive single deal with PRMD Records, the label also responsible for signing Avicii. His debut track, “Don’t Manipulate,” has already garnered over 2.5 million plays on Spotify. And NOW, by total CHANCE, he was talking to ME. I literally swooned.

Although my interaction with Almand was brief, I could tell he was a super nice guy and definitely someone to be on the lookout for. I told him to keep in touch if he’s ever back in the city, (or willing to give Bwog an exclusive interview ;)). Also, his performance at Bacchanal was unreal. Homeboy changed his outfit like 3 times on stage and still managed to keep the crowd lit. I was quite impressed.

Shortly after that lil’ celeb interaction, all of the people who weren’t actually “Friends of Performers” were ushered to the backstage area on the other side of the stage, intended for General Body Members and Press Staff. While I was a little sad, the right area provided a much better view of the stage (and a chance to dance super close to AlunaGeorge!) I also want to give a shoutout to the lovely Public Safety officer (I’m so sorry I also don’t remember his name, but he had a beautiful ginger, handlebar mustache), who kept supplying me with water bottles because it was really hot and I was truly working up a sweat from schmoozing and dancing so hard. One of the coolest moments occurred during AlunaGeorge’s last song, where she gestured to the entire press staff to surge the stage and dance with her during the encore. I really think I peaked in that moment – it was pretty surreal.

Post-show, everyone was invited to a meet and greet with Almand and AlunaGeorge. I snapped a quick pic with Aluna, (see below!!) and said my last goodbyes to Mr. Almand. Overall, such a killer day and such a fantastic first Bacchanal experience.

Before I end, I also just wanted to give the biggest Bwog Love to Jesse and Tyler, this year’s Bacchanal Presidents, in addition to all of Bacchanal E-Board, Bacchanal Committee, Public Safety, and Stage Crew for making this year’s concert such a roaring success. I think it’s pretty clear to me that the “War on Fun” is far from over and I’m already counting down the days until next year. Litty.

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