Students Smash Pumpkins, Battle of the Bands Replaces Bonfire

Saturday night’s SMASHING PUMPKINZ: Battle of the Bands was a new event added to SGA’s weekend-long Octoberfest. Taking place at the bandshell, many students on campus were able to the opportunity to not only hang out and listen to some music, but also show off their musical talents to the entire student body. There were other activities at the event like apprpriately pumpkin smashing and painting that gave students something to do in between each band transition. 

This event consisted of a wide variety of acts, ranging from solo artists along with full bands (whose members include some currently enrolled students) at the school with a $200 cash prize and bragging rights at stake. 

“In the past, Student Government Association has not been very active with music-related events,” junior Nicole Panzica said. “The College Programming Board usually takes care of the fall and spring concerts, but several groups suggested hosting more events like SMASHING PUMPKINZ: Battle of the Bands.” I 

As the coordinator of Octoberfest for the student government, Panzica expressed the positive feedback she received from bands that were interested in performing. 

“Bands were very grateful to us and enthusiastic in showing definite interest by submitting samples of their music,” Panzica said. “We had many responses from bands that was enough to fit our two [hour] time slot.” 

As opposed to a battle of the bands competition, last year’s Octoberfest included other activities, such as a haunted hayride and bonfire. Considering that this is a fairly new Ocotoberfest event, Panzica also discussed the many changes that have occurred since last year’s festivities. The bonfire appeared to be the cornerstone of the weekend’s events, but due to fire safety issues, Panzica along other members of the SGA decided to plan a different event for this year. 

“Over the summer, the Center for Student Involvement put up a poll through Orgsync the determine the best way to spend the budget,” Panzica said. “We wanted to find out the students’ favorite parts of Octoberfest and possible ideas of what they would want to see for this year. The idea for SMASHING PUMPKINZ: Battle of the Bands on Saturday night arose from reevaluating the annual bonfire. There was not a lot of entertainment to keep students interested in sticking around for long, so I thought a Battle of the Bands would be a great way for Ramapo students to show off their skills and have their friends hang out to support them.” 

The battle of the bands had a large turnout throughout the night, bringing together many students who showed interest in hearing some live music and to hanging out with their friends. Freshman Tom Chupela enjoyed the positive atmosphere despite the cold weather. 

“The event was really chill, literally and figuratively,” Chupela said. “I think this was a cool event to plan out, and there should more music involved events on campus because everybody can benefit from music.” 

Throughout the night, students submitted ballots, voting for their favorite acts. At the end of the night, the ballots were tallied up and three winners were announced: Lift the Decade placing third runner-up, Amanda Fama rewarded with second runner-up and Standstill coming up on top, winning the competition. 

Dennis DePrimo, who plays bass in Standstill, was humble not only about participating in the event, but winning as well. 

“We were all really elated that people liked us enough to win,” DePrimo said. “I feel like it motivated us to keep writing and recording new tunes so we could start playing them live.” 

As a musician who was participating, along with enjoying all the other bands off stage, DePrimo believes that a lot of the bands benefitted from playing just by having fun. 

“We met a ton of new people and everyone looked like they were having a hell of a time,” DePrimo said. “If you’re having fun playing with your friends up on stage then what else to you need?” 

Overall, students thought SMASHING PUMPKINZ: Battle of the Bands was a successful event. 

“For a first-time event in the freezing cold, I was very happy with the turnout for Battle of the Bands. About 150 students voted, and there were even more there enjoying the pumpkin painting, carving, and smashing,” Panzica said. “This year’s Battle of the Bands was only two hours long, but I think we could have provided entertainment for even longer. Students seemed to really be enjoying the performances, so hopefully in the future we can expand the competition to include more bands, more diverse styles of music, and an even larger audience.”