Philfest held indoors due to weather

Susan Du

Because of rain and cold weather Saturday, Northwestern Students for Ecological and Environmental Development moved their annual concert, Philfest, indoors to the Louis Room of Norris University Center. Traditionally it is located on Norris’s East Lawn.

Communication junior Elliott Glass, Philfest’s co-chair, said although the rain was a setback, he was happy with the event’s outcome.

“The Louis Room looks amazing,” he said. “People did a great job on really short notice. We partnered well with A&O this year.”

SEED started the tradition of Philfest to honor one of its members, Phil Semmer, who died in a car crash in 2000. Since then, new generations of NU students have come to associate Semmer’s legacy with bluegrass and lessons about environmental sustainability.

“Philfest is one of our biggest events,” Glass said. “It gives current students the chance to let their hair down and relax. It’s like ‘chillo’ day instead of Dillo Day.”

SEED partners with A&O Productions every year to bring a variety of bluegrass musicians to Philfest. This year, Communication junior Kelsey Wild and Johnson Family Band opened for Old School Freight Train. Glass said he and other SEED executives chose Wild as the student opener because her sound fit with the relaxed and easy-going vibe of Philfest.

About 100 students were present at Philfest at any given time during the event. Students lounged about the floor of the Louis Room, listening to music, hula-hooping, painting each other’s toenails and tie-dying t-shirts.

About 10 Evanston environment groups and student organizations participated in Philfest in order to promote their own unique methods of sustainability.

The Recyclery, a bicycle restoration shop, showcased pictures of their business, while NU-based Supplies for Dreams operated a bean-bag toss. Sodexho representatives working with Midwest Foods operated a fresh market booth stocked with produce grown by local farmers. Citizens’ Greener Evanston president Ron Fleckman passed out seed packets while signing up students for his environmental activism email list.

“Through the University, we have access to manpower and brainpower,” Fleckman said. “We have a very collaborative, cooperative relationship with Northwestern…There are always students looking for work to do.”

Citizens’ Greener Evanston’s greenhouse gas reduction agenda has included promoting wind power on the North Shore and decreasing the use of plastic bags in the city.

District Executive Chef John Krickl of Sodexho, who oversees the six dining halls on campus, said getting involved with Philfest for the first time this year is part of a “large and burgeoning program of sustainability” at NU.

“I think it’s great to partner with NU and give back,” Krickl said. “We’re just here to learn more, find more venders, make more connections.”

Hemp-adorned SESP junior Alexa Razma said she has enjoyed all her experiences at Philfest in recent years.

“I come for quality music, quality people and a quality perspective,” Razma said. “It’s a different experience here.”

Ryan Palma, who works at the Recyclery, took a break from his booth to snack on assorted micro-greens purchased from Sodexho’s fresh market stand.

“The music’s awesome. The booths look awesome,” he said.

SESP sophomore Taro Tomiya said last year’s Philfest had better energy because it was held outside in the sun.

“Last year was a lot better,” Tomiya said. “There were more people, more groups… Hosting the event on the East Lawn is key. Hopefully next year it’ll be good.”

All proceeds from Philfest will go to Rocky Mountain Institute , a sustainability research organization where Semmer planned to work after graduation.

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