Drew invites the Florham community to Drewchella festival



Drew University, one of the three universities located in Madison, will host the second annual Drewchella music festival on April 16 from 12 to 5 p.m., and FDU students are invited to attend.

Drewchella is primarily put on by WMNJ 88.9, Drew’s student-run radio station, in collaboration with other groups on campus, including Music House and Art Club. 

“Drew has a long history of live music,” said Victoria Ruhle, PR representative for Drewchella. “In the past, Drew has hosted performances by legendary groups like The Who, Jefferson Airplane, The Animals and more. Drewchella is our way of reclaiming this history and crafting our identity as a college that supports the local music scene.”

Ava Portman, a Drew junior and the Live Events Coordinator for the event, was excited to talk to The Pillar about Drewchella to spread the word about the festival.

“In recent years, live music has not been present on campus and we at WMNJ want that to change.”

Portman also discussed the success from the year before and how it was such a “big hit” that they decided to host another.

“We had 12 bands and both an outdoor acoustic stage and an indoor stage with full sound. Since it was our first try we made it only available to Drew students. We had vendors and Drew clubs advertising at booths.” However, she said that this year the planners wanted to make sure the event is an open to more than just Drew students.

“The biggest change from last year to this year is that we want everyone to come and enjoy it with us,” she said.

Portman noted the unspoken tension between FDU and Drew that has been present over the past couple of years, but expressed that she and the other board members wanted to “put aside any silly fights between Drew and FDU and come together over some really good music.”

Melanie Calantropio, general manager of the radio station, said that she thinks it is important to recognize local art, “especially local talent and that we bring music to a campus like Drew in an event that can bring all types of students with different tastes in music together.”

The festival will host primarily rock, folk, pop and alternative performers. It will feature seven live bands, including headliner Deal Casino, a four-member pop-rock band from Sparta that moved to Asbury Park in 2014.

Portman said that in addition to a day of music, Drew’s Art Club is planning to have activity stations such as face painting and flower crown making. “There will be multiple vendors to browse and plenty of room to dance,” she said.

Tickets cost $10, and Portman said money raised will be donated to a New Jersey charity called Little Kids Rock. The organization works to ensure that instruments are available in public schools to help aspiring musicians have access to them.

Calantropio has a lot of faith in the university’s student organizations and will influence others to come to the event.

“The WMNJ board continues to challenge what they’re capable of, and events like Drewchella not only brings students together in terms of music, but brings students together in terms of hard work, dedication and teamwork,” she said.

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