A fan’s experience

Spotlight’s first hand account of the High School Nation festival


Tai Johnson

Co-editor Hera Boyd poses with Drake Bell after the High School Nation festival Wednesday afternoon.

Hera Boyd, co-editor-in-chief

As a fan of music and concerts, this music festival at school was almost like a surreal dream. As soon as I heard about the show I thought it was too good to be true, only believing the gossip when it was announced officially that High School Nation would be stopping at our school for an afternoon.

The excitement started early for the performing arts students, as we got to attend a discussion panel in the auditorium with some of the guests from High School Nation during second period and impact. Students got to ask questions directly to the speakers and they told us all about there awesome program meant to help kids like us.

After the panel, we all went back to class and waited for eighth period to end so we could go to the event. I stayed with student publication teacher Tom Hayes who released his impact early to go down to the field. We were some of the first ones to show up and it was incredibly empty. Some fellow editors and I got to talk to the artists before their sets and some of the people at the tents before it got swamped. We also got to meet some therapy dogs and learn about an anti-bullying campaign.

The before bands came out on stage and started performing while my friend and I went to get the free Sparkling Ice Water they were giving away, but by that time people were starting to show up.

Some of the students were a little too aggressive while attempting to get the refreshments, which made the whole process last longer and ultimately made us miss the first set. We didn’t get to see Beta Play but we made it in time to see Nikki’s Wives and the dance off before the show. They brought four of our students out on stage and they competed for some free giveaway. They put on a really nice fun show, by the time they were done the ever-growing crowd was getting excited.

In between the next artist and the one before, the African dancer from Angola and some students came up to the stage to perform a dance routine they’d learned on the spot. It was really amazing getting to see these kids learning these awesome dances taught by people who actually care.

After the dancers went off the next artist came on, a 16-year-old girl named Caroline Roman who had the crowd pumped with a few songs off her new EP as well as a cover of “Unsteady” by X Ambassadors. Her team was actually giving away stickers to everyone.

There were a lot of promotional giveaways throughout the entire event, including Nikki’s Wives fans, Beta Play cards, and even a few events you could enter in to win prizes. There was a huge Hollister give away of t-shirts and some jeans and free food and drinks were being passed out the entire time.

After Roman finished her set, the stage hands put the stage together in preparation of Drake Bell, the headliner. The announcer and host of the show even put on an act himself, rapping to the audience while we waited for the main event.

Then the time came and he finally came on stage. It was super hot, humid and sticky, but despite that people were jumping around and really enjoying the show.

As someone who love to go to concerts, I like to take time to admire how the crowd comes together for even just a song to dance and have a good time, connected by music. It’s a really beautiful thing and I think everyone came alive when he started the song. I think we all know what we’re talking about, the Drake and Josh theme song, “Found A Way”. Everyone freaked out and got crazy during that song and it was a really cool experience to see one of our childhood stars perform in front of us so many years later.

He closed the rad set after that song and took his leave off the stage. As the crowd dispersed, for some the excitement was over, but for those of us who got to stay we were able to hang out and talk to people and interview the announcer. We were even able to meet Bell and interview him for the stories we’ll be posting later on this week. Make sure to check them out.

The whole day was an unexpected, incredible experience that was really one of a kind in so many ways. I never thought I’d be able to attend a concert at my school, at Ben Davis High School. I’m so happy they gave us the opportunity to network and have some fun in the middle of all of our hard work. All in all the afternoon was not wasted, we may have missed a few of our classes but it was worth it in the end.