While exam season often brings stress to the Westminster community, it also brings a mass of concerts. This November and December include concerts such as Travis Scott, Drake, and Jingle Ball, a multi-artist concert hosted by Power 96.1 on Dec. 14. These concerts provide something for everyone, whether it is an escape from the stress that school presents or more time to hang out with friends. Westminster students are also excited for the upcoming concerts because of the connection they feel to the artist, both on a musical and a personal level.
Students are looking forward to a lot of different aspects of the concerts, such as spending time with friends, listening to the music, and a break from schoolwork. What the students are looking forward to is often reflected in the concert they are attending. Most students going to a hip-hop concert are looking forward to a fun night with friends where they know most of the artists’ songs, while a pop concert commonly brings in people who know the artists’ most popular songs, but have not listened to all of their musical works. For example, junior Davis Smith has been listening to Drake for over 8 years and knows almost all of his songs. He went to the first of Drake’s three shows on Nov. 16 at State Farm Arena with three friends, who all knew Drake’s music as comprehensively as Smith. However, at Jingle Ball, most people are looking forward to the different acts and their hit songs.
“I love Jingle Ball because it provides such a variety of artists, and it has a lot of songs that you hear regularly,” said freshman Virginia Miller, “I am most looking forward to Khalid though, because he has the most songs that I know and I have been listening to him for a few years.” Miller knows his debut album American Teen best, but is also excited to hear his new album Suncity live.
In contrast, many are excited for “hearing Drakes repertoire of music, and I hope he brings out another rapper like Lil Baby”, as Smith says. Drake has released 10 studio albums, and his music is known to fluctuate within the R&B genre from love songs to trap music.
Smith also is looking forward to a break from the workload from school, because “going to a concert is a way to escape from the stressful day-to-day problems at school, and it’s a good opportunity to just catch your breath and relax with friends.” Even though a normal concert is only about three hours, it means a student can have at least a portion of the day where they don’t have to worry about any upcoming assignments, projects, or tests.
One common theme throughout all the concerts is the personal connection to the artist each listener holds. Despite the range of genres of the artists from trap to pop, each artist provides something different for the listener to connect with and use in their everyday life. Smith personally feels as though he connects with Drake because he can listen to him in every mood, something that fluctuates in Westminster students constantly.
“His music is versatile, and takes people through a variety of emotions,” said Smith.“One song you will be jumping up and down with friends, and the next you will be contemplating mistakes you made throughout your life.” Students do not only view the musicians as artists, but also role models. One example of this personal connection is junior Tanner Uzzell’s connection to Travis Scott.
“[Travis] is smart and well spoken and serves as an example of someone who chose to follow his dreams instead of the route that was expected for him, such as high school, college, and a “normal” job, which is something that I think about often,” Uzzell said. Uzzell has seen over 10 artists in the last year, but says Scott remains one of his favorites because of his personal connection and Scott’s multitude of songs.
Unlike Travis Scott and Drake, Jingle Ball presents a prominent scheduling conflict for Westminster students, as it repeatedly falls on the Friday before exam week. While many parents hope their child would study all weekend for their upcoming exams, some students have found ways around such scheduling conflicts or planned their studying around Jingle Ball to carve out time for attending the annual concert.
“I decided to go the Friday before exams because it will be a nice break from studying and school and there are some of my favorite artists and I don’t want to miss seeing them because of exams,” Miller said. Miller has attended Jingle Ball one time before this year, and had an excellent time with her friends.
Other students take a riskier approach, planning with the phrase “You only live once!” sophomore Allie Berg says. Many students such as Berg believe they can succeed on their exams without Friday night, thanks to the preparation from their teachers, but not all students want to give up the Friday before exams for Jingle Ball. Junior Alex Bradham has been three years in a row, but like many other students, is not attending this year.
“I wanted to go at first, but it just didn’t seem like a good choice because I want to do well on my exams and use Friday night so I won’t be stressed all week,” Bradham said. Bradham is one of many students who stop attending Jingle Ball as they hit junior year because of the stress of being a Westminster junior.
There are many other concerts coming to Atlanta after break. These include the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest on Jan. 31, where performers such as Lil Yachty, Lil Baby, and Migos will perform, and a Meek Mill concert on March 24. For students who prefer other genres of music, Justin Timberlake comes to Atlanta on Jan. 10 and Fleetwood Mac plays the State Farm Arena March 3.