By Charlotte Janes, ’18
Established in 2004, the Number Fest has been one of the most anticipated events in Athens Ohio for 16 years and counting—no pun intended. This year’s festival, otherwise referred to as #16Fest, was held at the Venue of Athens, a field like area surrounded by trees accessible via a single dusty side road off of State Route 56. The lineup was one of its own, headlined with a variety of well known performers like Marshmello, Lil Uzi Vert, Ohio native Trippie Redd and more.
Upon picking up my credentials and entering the festival grounds, I was able to talk with a few #Fest veterans and get a bit more familiar with my surroundings. My credentials were a little different than ones I’ve received from other similar events, this time I would be trying to take photos from the crowd with no access to the photo pit. While I knew this would be challenging, I accepted the task all the same and came out of it with quite a few shots I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
I walked around for a bit, got the lay of the land, and found a spot on the VIP side of the crowd barrier to set up and take photos for the remainder of day one. The sun went down over GTA’s set and the overall energy hit an all time high just in time for RL Grime to take the stage. After a small technical difficulty, Grime blew the crowd away with an incredible performance that finished off the night perfectly (see image 1.)Day two was a whole different animal. The crowd had doubled in size, the sets started earlier, and to make sure I could get the photos that I wanted from the headliners, I made a plan to stick to the leg up I had from the VIP barrier and hold it to the very end.
Shortly after I had gotten settled in, Gashi took to the stage and gave one of my personal favorite performances from the entire weekend with songs like “Disrespectful” and “1134.” About halfway through the set, I was able to capture Caleb Pressley from Barstool Sports diving off the stage as the entire crowd yelled and cheered him on (see images 2 & 3.)Following Gashi, Two Friends gave a great mid-day performance, throwing t-shirts and hats into the crowd between songs (see image 4.) Soon after, Trippie Redd made his way out to the sound of “Dark Knight Dummo,” a hit song with Travis Scott that was among those that powered his quick rise to fame (see image 5.) Needless to say, just about everyone in the crowd loved it and his set was a perfect segway to the remaining three acts: Rezz, Lil Uzi Vert, and Marshmello. Rezz performed an hour worth of music that can be best described as Electronic Body Music, leaving the crowd stunned and wanting more. I was situated next to a girl who drove all the way from Cincinnati to Athens just to see her perform live (see image 6.) The crowd got a bit of a break after Rezz’s powerful set as Lil Uzi Vert was late to the stage. By the time Uzi Vert came on, the sun had gone down and the energy had come back up. With well known songs like “Sauce It Up” and “XO TOUR Llif3” the crowd was singing along with him the entire time (see image 7.) To finish the night off, Marshmello performed an amazing set complete with pyrotechnics, confetti, and a tribute to his mentor Avicii, who unfortunately had passed away the day before (see image 8.) Overall, #16Fest left me impressed, and if next year is anything like it, then I will definitely be making the trip down to Athens again.