Progress Festival moves its start date


cover photo highland
Dublin, Va., Feb. 2, 2018 – Highland Farm is a regular destination for local music festivals due to its location and the owners’ willingness. Photo: Brendan Quinn

by Brendan Quinn —

For years, Progress Festival has occurred during the Virginia Tech spring semester. This year the festival will take place on May 18-20, after final exams and graduation. This schedule change could result in a smaller share of the student population attending the festival, which has roots in the student community.

There are many reasons why the festival was pushed back this year. The weather played a huge role in the scheduling change, as torrential downpours dampened last year’s festival. As Progress Festival founder and organizer John Clockwood describes, “April is right in monsoon season, and I don’t think anyone going to Progress Fest can stomach five more inches of rain.”

Food supplies also factor into the schedule shift. Clockwood envisions the festival as a place where you can get everything, including sustenance. According to him, moving the festival back further into harvest season means the festival can rely on locally sourced organic foods.

Additionally, Clockwood believes turnout would be hurt by the crowded Spring Semester this year. He says that the festival would have to contend with the Virginia Tech Spring Football Game, Radford University final exams, and Virginia Tech final exams.

The schedule change could have negative ramifications for the festival, though, as students have comprised a large portion of the audience and they may not stick around once the semester ends. Clockwood has faith that students will return for the festival, saying, “I think that people would come back because people really care about the festival, and I have seen in previous years people always come back; they graduate and move on and they drive six, seven, eight, even ten hours to come back and see everyone that they know.” As for current students, he says, “this just means they get to see their friends two weeks after they left.”

Sine Wave Surfers Festival will now take place April 20, the weekend normally reserved for Progress Festival. Its founder Adam Wirdzek, who will also perform at Progress Festival as Electrobro, described the concern of students balancing Progress Festival with upcoming final exams, saying, “It takes a lot of the pressure off of a lot of our demographic, students, from worrying about doing a full-blown music festival right near finals.” Wirdzek is not concerned about his festival, however, saying, “It’s just one day, so you don’t have to survive a whole festival.”

Final exams, graduation, and numerous high profile Blacksburg events have forced Blacksburg DIY Music organizers to adjust their normal plans. They just hope that the gamble pays off.

ARTS/CULTURE: Black Panther, diversity in Hollywood

by Catherine Irvin, Grayson Wimbish, Brendan Quinn–

Photo credit: junaidrao on / CC BY-NC-ND

Marvel Studios’ Black Panther dominated the box office during its premiere weekend. The film racked up $242 million domestically over President’s Day weekend, destroying prior expectations.

Along the way, Black Panther has taught Hollywood a lesson about diversity in blockbuster films. Despite premiering in February rather than the blockbuster-heavy summer months, the film enjoyed the fifth largest opening weekend in film history. It has dispelled the notion that films featuring African-American leads cannot travel overseas, grossing $169 million outside of North America.

Black Panther has added to the conversation around diversity in Hollywood; the entertainment sector has seen an influx of new voices driving the conversation. Audiences showed this weekend that they are prepared to support diversification on the silver screen.

Tech students’ Super Bowl LII predictions

Photo credit: Keith Allison on / CC BY-SA

This Super Bowl is a tough one for many NFL fans. Non-Patriots and non-Eagles fans are left to choose between some of their least favorite teams.

Virginia Tech students are no different. For fans of NFC East teams, like the nearby Washington Redskins, choosing between a division rival and the hated New England Patriots is a tough proposition.

Virginia Tech’s campus is fairly divided on the issue of the Super Bowl, as Philadelphia and New England fans obviously have their favorite but fans of neither team would rather the game not be played at all. Many more students simply don’t know about either team or don’t care about NFL football. We spoke to Virginia Tech students outside of Owens Dining Hall to gauge student sentiment toward the upcoming game.