When classes went remote, plenty of social events followed suit and became virtual to avoid the spread of COVID-19 while still allowing for socialization. One of the most anticipated events each semester is Solarity, but due to the pandemic, did not occur from Spring 2020 to Spring 2021. Solarity is an event where students bring up-and-coming artists to campus to perform a concert at the field house, and is completely free for students to attend. Recent acts include Lizzo, Leikeli47, and Kota the Friend. Since it’s pretty hard to transfer the experience of attending a concert to a virtual platform, I’m sure you can see why there wasn’t a Solarity concert for the past few semesters. Other popular student-led events such as Drag Ball, where drag queens perform and students learn about drag culture and go all out to dress in drag for the night, were also changed in order to be remote-accessible. But once the COVID-19 vaccine became widely available and over 80% of students received it, Oberlin was able to relax some of the social distancing practices put in place and bring back a sense of normalcy. This came just in time for the summer semester and allowed for students to organize a Y2K themed event that combined both Solarity and Drag Ball: Solstice.
Once announced, there was so much excitement all across campus for Solstice. The lineup included student DJ Tali Braun; queens (several of whom were on Ru’Paul’s Drag Race) Jaidynn Diore Fierce, A’keria Chanel Davenport, Bella Sin, and Ra’jah O’Hara; student dance group AndWhat?!; and the headliner of the event: Flo Milli. I’m not sure about y’all, but I’m a pretty big fan of Flo Milli; I think she makes great music that makes you feel like THAT GIRL. So, to see her for the low, low price of free? The only admissions requirements were to complete a consent and training, and to bring your student ID. I was definitely looking forward to Solarity the moment they announced she would be performing. Trust me when I say my Instagram stories were flooded with videos from that night. (Especially when Flo Milli brought some of my friends on stage.) I was a little too in-the-moment to get photos of Flo Milli, but I hope some screenshots from my videos of her and slightly higher quality photos of Bella Sin and Ra’jah O’Hara will suffice!
As y’all can see from the photos, it was a pretty intimate concert space and I was able to get really close to the front. Regardless of the size of the crowd, the energy was incredibly high. Alumni and students who were off campus for the summer even drove into Oberlin to see all the performances at Solstice. It’s not often you get to be a few feet away from the artist while they’re performing. Needless to say, I had a great time with my friends and Solstice was a great way to kick off the last month of the summer semester. I'm extremely grateful for the students who were able to make this event happen, both behind the scenes and on stage. Here’s to more Solarity concerts, Drag Balls, and otherwise good times at Oberlin.
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