By Sophie Cannon, news correspondent
Radio station Mix104.1 went off the air and onto the stage last Saturday for the annual MixFest music festival at the Hatch Memorial Shell on the Charles River Esplanade. This year’s lineup featured OneRepublic, Ingrid Michaelson and Shaggy.
“I come here every year with my friends, and it’s a great bonding experience,” said Eric Yun, a third-year accounting major at Northeastern. “I also love the people that are going to be performing today.”
At the front of the half-moon amphitheater, groups of all ages sat on blankets and folding chairs awaiting the start of the show. The venue, a grassy field, presented a relaxed atmosphere immediately upon entering.
“School’s just been kind of stressful, even though it’s only the second week,” said Alyssia Kazan, a Northeastern freshman bioengineering major who went to the festival with her friend. “We just wanted to do something different, and this seemed like a fun and free thing to do.”
Singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson was the first performer to take the stage. The Staten Island native said she loved coming to Boston and felt at home in the city. Her imitation of a Boston accent drew a roar of laughter and applause from the crowd.
Michaelson performed a mix of her well-known classics, such as “Be Ok” and “Girls Chase Boys,” along with material from her newest album entitled “It Doesn’t Have to Make Sense.” She connected with the audience as she recounted her first kiss, her favorite places to travel and her dislike of the jumbotron zooming in on her forehead.
Keeping with the friendly tone but turning up the energy, Shaggy performed next. A Jamaican native, he sang with passion and involved the audience with call-and-responses, cheering on command and interactive dance routines. He sang most of his hits, some even twice, including “Mr. Bombastic,” “It Wasn’t Me” and “I Need Your Love.”
During OneRepublic’s set, frontman Ryan Tedder confessed that their 2005 hit song “Apologize” almost caused the breakup of their band just as they were first gaining popularity. While the band appreciated the fame they received from the single, Tedder said they felt that the song was not representative of their sound and they needed to start anew.
Regardless, OneRepublic proceeded to play “Apologize,” and the 2000s music lovers in the crowd went wild. Now with three albums under the band’s belt, OneRepublic is set to release a new album entitled “Oh My My” on October 7.
MixFest is unique from other local concerts in that it attracts a wide array of people from young adults and couples to families and older adults, said Hannah Guarino, a sophomore marketing major at Northeastern.
“I went to Boston Calling festival in the summer, and it was a totally different atmosphere, probably because it was a paid event,” Guarino said.“This is more of a diverse crowd.”
The free admission for the annual festival helped attract scores of college students from all over the Boston area, including Northeastern University, Boston University, Harvard University and Emerson College.
“I would love to go to more free things like this,” Kazan said. “As college students, we don’t really have that much money to spend, so this is just a great way to spend a weekend.”
From beginning to end, the concert maintained its relaxed but lively atmosphere and was successful in bonding people over their shared love of music.
“Everyone is coming together to listen to good music and it’s just really nice,” said Yun. “I love the atmosphere here.”
Photo by Lauren Scornavacca.