A&O partners with environmental groups for indoor Philfest concert

Student band Kite and Swans performs Saturday afternoon during Philfest at Norris University Center. The event, sponsored by A&O and SEED, was initially scheduled to be on the Norris East Lawn, but was moved indoors to accommodate the weather.

Melody Song/Daily Senior Staffer

Student band Kite and Swans performs Saturday afternoon during Philfest at Norris University Center. The event, sponsored by A&O and SEED, was initially scheduled to be on the Norris East Lawn, but was moved indoors to accommodate the weather.

Mallory Busch, Reporter

Northwestern students took Philfest’s easygoing atmosphere inside Norris University Center after cold weather prompted a change of venue for the annual concert Saturday.

The bluegrass festival, organized by A&O Productions and Students for Ecological and Environmental Development, promotes environmental awareness in a relaxing atmosphere and usually takes place on the Norris East Lawn. Musicians Sierra Hull, Tangleweed and student band Kites and Swans performed at this year’s event.

“It’s a good time, hanging out with friends, listening to music,” said Weinberg sophomore Andrew Pfeiffer, who attended last year’s Philfest and plans to return every year he is on campus.

Philfest honors the memory of Phil Semmer, a former student and SEED member who died in an auto accident in August 2000. In May 2001, when Semmer would have been a Weinberg senior, Philfest was established to honor him. Semmer was a fan of bluegrass and passionate about supporting the Rocky Mountain Institute, a beneficiary of Philfest.

“It’s really talking about environmentalism within the mainstream, bringing people together around being outdoors and having fun and enjoying themselves and at the same time benefiting the Rocky Mountain Institute,” SEED co-president Mark Silberg said.

The Weinberg junior said Philfest normally raises between $500 and $1,000 for the charity, which he called a “visionary organization.”

SEED provided mats and blankets for the crowd and sold tank tops that students could tie-dye for a fee. Most activities were free, and SEED provided two tables for making beads out of magazines. SESP freshman Renee Wellman said she spent more than two hours creating 25 beads.

“I’ve seen this in craft magazines, but I’ve never had a chance to do it before today,” said Wellman, who was able to watch the Philfest musical acts while taking part in the activity.

Weinberg sophomore Jon Cohen said he came to Philfest with friends and decided to stay at the event for several hours. He walked on a slackline, a strap suspended between two trees, and tie-dyed a T-shirt, but he said listening to bluegrass music was his favorite part of the concert.

“I actually didn’t know about it last year, but I’m glad I found out,” Cohen said.

Northwestern University Outing Club featured slackline on the Norris East Lawn while Pura Playa, an Engineers for a Sustainable World Project, ran tables to encourage more responsible water usage.

“We teamed up with SEED for Philfest, trying to get the word out, spread some information, and also have some fun while doing it, ” said Danielle Faden, a Weinberg sophomore in SEED.

The event began at 1:30 p.m. and ended after 5, when musician Sierra Hull closed her act. Many students, like Wellman, stayed for the full event.

“It was just a great atmosphere with great music and a great way to take a break from studying,” Wellman said.

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