Students, faculty, staff, and community members filled the Student Union for the first annual Nest Fest, music and arts festival on April 14. With a plethora of activities from live art being made right before your eyes, to a multitude of bands, poets, emcees and musicians who played various styles, attendees had lots of activities to partake in.
Organizers Kris Mika said of the event, “I’m thankful to everyone that came out to Nest Fest. Every one of them came out and did their thing!” Lakeesha Harris, of .:Seeds:. pulled together a host of poets for the spoken word portion of the event. Ra Perre Shelter wowed the crowds with his heartfelt rendition of “For Sakia”, a poem about the murder of 16-year-old Sakia Gunn in Newark, New Jersey. Kokumo also performed songs from her debut album including, “I Shall Not Be Denied”, and “Conscious Amnesia.” “I’d never seen Kokumo perform live, I’ve heard of her from her one trans-woman showcase though. She’s really good,” said Desiree Jones of West Rogers Park.
Live artists included: Rome, TNKRT, Victor Montanez, Chris Barsotti, Manny Cortes, Cait Driscoll, Wil Velez, Chris Helton, Linda Monacelli, Jennifer Dickson, Ruben, Jeffery Littleton, Claudia Gonzalez, Collette Adams. These artists created expressive pieces of art right before the eyes of attendees. From start to finish, passers-by were able to see their creation process in action.
Local Chicago band Sons of Mary kept the audiences rocking. The bachata band, Freddy K. Y La Dynastia got guests up and dancing in during the Alumni Hall showcase. Hosts Laura “Ream” Nieves and Ra Perre Shelton kept the crowd amped as live artists painted their masterpieces while the audience grooved to the tunes. Finally, Saul Williams stole the show, deciding to come off the stage into the center of the crowd, crooning “come a little closer to me, it’s cool…” to reassured them. This unconventional setting was perfect for getting up close and personal with the world famous artist.