Colorful body paint, light-up styrofoam sticks and electronic dance music attracted thousands of students from all local colleges to Florida International University's sixth annual SummerFest celebration Thursday night.
The electronic dance music concert, hosted by FIU's Campus Life department, was designed with their student population's and neighboring community's popular EDM culture in mind. The event featured the groups Party Favor, Valentino Khan, Ookay and Bonnie X Clyde, as well as foam sprayers, dancers in light-up robot costumes and light displays.
The catch? No drugs or alcohol are allowed on the premises.
Six years ago the summer semester was the only time the university did not hold a large music event, and now SummerFest is one of their biggest shows. Complete with popular DJs and food trucks it allows students to come together even in the summertime.
“About two years ago we actually beat Homecoming’s attendance,” said Sisi Gospodivov, SummerFest's student marketing director.
In the past, the SummerFest rave has typically attracted over 3,000 students and guests, but Gospodivov is hoping this year will near the 5,000 mark. She said that as an events management major SummerFest has been more than just a giant party – it’s given her valuable hands-on practice coordinating an event with such a large scale.
Though raves have come to be associated with underground venues and drugs, these attendees didn’t seem to mind the no-drugs and no-alcohol rules, or the security surrounding the venue.
“Over there I see a girl, already; she’s collapsed. So we have paramedics, we have police there doing their job. So I think that’s really important for a festival,” said Juan Cortez, a visiting student from Miami Dade College. “The value of an event like this is for the community at FIU to have a good time, even if it’s at school.”