Lights Up Festival review

Story posted September 6, 2022 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Abigail Chachoute

Saturday, Aug. 27 — Penn State Welcome Week came to a close with the spectacular Lights Festival on the Hub Lawn. This event was organized by Penn State’s Student Programming Association (SPA) and Movin’ On team.

The night was full of activities before the main event, including a 360° photo booth and an interactive game booth.

The night began with a pre-show by the American electronic music duo 3OH!3. The duo opened with a hit that many in the crowd were instantly familiar with: “My First Kiss.”

As their set went on, the performers worked to continue getting the crowd’s energy up, but students seemed to grow less engaged and restless in anticipation for the main performance of the night.

At one point, the duo said to the crowd that they had no more songs to perform and began ad-libbing. This set would have been better if it had been a bit shorter or at least more organized.  

When 3OH!3’s set was over, the crowd’s excitement continued to grow and students tried to find new ways to keep themselves entertained, with many cheering for KYLE to come out

After a surprise appearance of none other than PSU’s Nittany Lion and a short pre-show by KYLE's DJ, enthusiasm not only erupted from festival-goers, but was reciprocated by KYLE when he entered the stage.

He began the show with the perfect opener, “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love,” from his 2015 mixtape, “Smyle”.

His energy was electricity that fired up the crowd and lasted through the entirety of his performance. 

After his opener, KYLE took a moment to introduce himself, and told attendees that his only job that night was to make sure everyone had a great time. A job he executed with nothing less than a stellar performance.

Throughout his entire performance, KYLE consistently expressed how grateful he is for his fans and performed some throwbacks for the day ones including “Sex & Super Smash Bros.” and “Really? Yeah!”

Actions speaking louder than words, KYLE came down to the floor and interacted with fans multiple times, going as far as standing on a surfboard being held up by a group of students. If that’s not fan appreciation, then what is?

Many students realized that they were more familiar with KYLE’s work than they were aware of, with many recognizing “Hey Julie!,” which was TikTok viral for some time, and “Playinwitme,” a collab with Kehlani that he released in 2016.

During a black-out, the crowd cheered for the rapper to perform “iSpy,” his viral 2016 collab with Lil Yachty. Right before performing this hit, the singer pointed out that, coincidentally, this was the part of the set where he was supposed to perform the song.

As soon as he performed that song, some of the crowd dispersed, with many staying for the rest of his performance.

After thanking the crowd and leaving the stage, KYLE came out for an encore, but half of the crowd had already left. Even though this was the case, fans who stayed got the opportunity to interact with KYLE as he once again came to the floor before officially ending his performance.

At one point during the festival, students banded together with the security guards to discourage others from getting on top of each other's shoulders. Many students have pointed this out as a recurrent problem at PSU festivals and this time pushed back by ridiculing those who did so.

Although students meant well in discouraging inconsiderate behavior, there needs to be an improved awareness as to how they are perceived by performers.

There was a moment during KYLE’s set where he was waiting for a response from the crowd, but was met with taunting which was projected toward a group of students engaging in this disruptive behavior.

Another important takeaway from crowd behavior was that PSU students need to work on music festival etiquette.

The amount of pushing and shoving throughout these events are unacceptable, and negatively affect the experience for fellow festival-goers. That being said, here is a tip for those who want to be closer to the front: get there early — it’s that simple.

Putting aside the lack of courtesy within the crowd, organizers did a phenomenal job organizing the first music festival of the year.

KYLE helped Penn State students end Sylly Week with a bang, and set a high bar for performers who will make an appearance in Happy Valley this semester.

Abigail Chachoute is a second-year majoring in journalism. To contact her, email