Oberlin Blogs

Harry and the Potters Come to Oberlin, Part One

April 23, 2012

Alanna Bennett ’13

And now we delve into one of the strangest, most exhilarating nights of my time here at Oberlin.

At the beginning of this semester, the news spread: Harry and the Potters were coming. To be hosted by the Oberlin Harry Potter Alliance (for which I am webmistress), the first ever Wizard Rock band, would be playing a concert at the 'Sco. The news spread quickly amongst Oberlin's Harry Potter inclined, and the Harry Potter Alliance got to work on making sure their visit went as smoothly as possible.

(For those who have no idea what Wizard Rock is, a rundown can be found here.)

To those of us who spend a significant amount of time in the Harry Potter fandom (spoiler: I'm kind of obsessed), this was all hugely exciting. To a lot of people Harry and the Potters are their own brand of celebrity; for a lot of us they were our very first concert. Making sure everyone (including the band) had fun was a big deal to us in the HPA. And we figured it out: Their check was ready, the hotel rooms reserved and paid for, a schedule set up. We even had a scheduled time for them to meet with the Harry Potter ExCo (which I co-teach), where we would all sit around and geek out, all the while analyzing the Harry Potter phenomenon through the lens of literary analysis and sociology. It was gonna be awesome.

And then. And then.

And then came the actual day.

Here's a rough timeline of what went down on April 12th, aka Harry and the Potters Day:

Noon: I check my email and see that OHPA's events coordinator (let's call her K) has written to inform me that the band is running a little late on their trip from Bloomington to Oberlin, so they'll probably be arriving on campus around 7:00pm instead of around 5:00pm. (This is important because I'm the one scheduled to guide them around campus when they first arrive)

12-5:00pm: The usual Oberlin day. Class, food, shower, homework, writing...tumblr, etc.


5:30-6:30pm: This time is mainly taken up by us panicking, as well as going about the restructuring of the day: Rearranging things like sound check with the people who run the 'Sco, etc. Mainly panicking, even when we didn't really need to. This is also when I talk to Paul DeGeorge (Harry year 7) on the phone and we arrange to push the meeting with HexCo (Harry Potter ExCo) from 7 until 9. I email the class to tell them of the change.

6:30-6:30pm: They call back saying that it's their alternator that's malfunctioned and that, well, they have to go rent a car in order to get here. Can't imagine what a long day it's been for THEM at this point. Estimated time of arrival pushed back to 10pm at the earliest, 10:30 (after the opening band--the awesome Crispin Swank Sextet--goes on). HexCo event canceled. Sadness.

6:35pm: I realize that this rapid chain of plan-changes means that I can go to the Oberlin pre-screening of the new HBO show Girls (written by, directed by, and starring Lena Dunham, an '08 Oberlin grad). I am enthused.

6:35pm-9:00pm: Girls screening!

9pm-10:00pm: Hang out in Decaf with K and Jenna (our OHPA leader). More HPAers and HexCoers show up. We commiserate about our strange fate that night. We spend some time looking at each others' tumblrs and screaming at each other about our fandoms (in a friendly way). This is why I love them.

10:10pm: Harry and the Potters arrive!!! We help them unload, set up their merch table, etc.

10:45pm-12:30am: The actual concert. Practically a religious experience. The fact that I go to a school where that entire audience knows all the words to Harry and the Potters songs makes me really happy.

1:00am-2am: We get to hang out with the band. We head to the Feve, the main bar in town. Some kind person buys them drinks. My HexCo co-instructor, Kellie, gives them S.P.E.W. badges. It's a good time.

2:15am-2:45am: The bar closes, so we stand in Tappan Square for a while and just chat. A lot of jokes were made about Philadelphia, and the band says they want to make this an annual thing. YES, PLEASE.

Then we all parted ways and us HPAers were left reeling because WHAT THE EFF JUST HAPPENED THAT NIGHT WAS SO COOOL.

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