Hollybash: A showcase of unforgettable performers

Renowned musician Tai Verdes headlines Hollybash - Arts & Entertainment Intern / Al Harmon

Hollybash is a highly anticipated event that takes place every year in April on the scenic lawns of Hollybush Mansion. It’s a day full of carnival rides, food trucks, lawn games, and various activities, including axe throwing and much more. However, the highlight of the event is always the headline performance, which is kept a secret until a few weeks before the big day.

Last year’s headline performer was Noah Cyrus, which left many students wondering who would grace the stage this year. When it was finally revealed that Tai Verdes would be this year’s headliner, there was a mixture of confusion and excitement.

Tai Verdes gained popularity through social media platforms like TikTok, where his songs garnered millions of views and shares. His breakout single “Stuck in the Middle” gained widespread attention for its relatable lyrics and laid-back yet catchy vibe. He later released his debut album “TV” in 2021, which further solidified his status as a rising star in the music scene.

His performance did not disappoint, as he had the crowd dancing and singing along throughout his set, making him a hit with the students. He performed numerous of his hit songs including the one that made him gain much traction on TikTok, “AOK” which had the crowd singing along to every lyric.

“I thought Tai was super interactive with the crowd and a really fit performer for a college event,” said junior Victoria Lathrop. “However, it was definitely hard to hear the words he was saying at times. If I didn’t know the songs, I probably wouldn’t know what he was saying.”

Before Tai Verdes took the stage, Rowan’s Battle of the Bands winners MEASURES opened for him. MEASURES, a heavy metal and screamo band, brought their high-energy performance to Hollybash, and it was arguably the best of the night. 

“I mean, we usually play house shows or bar shows but as far as how we approach it. Nothing changes. This is just another show for us,” said lead singer Trevor Cherkauskas.

Usually found playing in basement concerts at house parties surrounded by familiar listeners, MEASURES had the opportunity to share their music with a whole new audience at Hollybash, and the response was overwhelming. The crowd was seen headbanging and moshing, fully enjoying the electrifying performance.

“Metal is always one of those things that feel so different performing live. The energy and field are so different. We kind of make metal music that people can dance to. So I think that we have a little bit more of a broad appeal with people being here specifically,” Cherkauskas said.

Another notable performance was by the local indie rock band Frankie Mermaid. After winning the Fan-Favorite award at the Battle of Bands event in early March, Frankie Mermaid was given the chance to showcase their talents on the small stage at Hollybash. With their unique sound and catchy melodies, Frankie Mermaid gained a loyal following of fans and won over new ones with their impressive performance.

“It was really cool to be a part of something like Hollybash. The event was something we had our eye on since we started so it was cool to come full circle this year and play the festival,” said lead singer and guitarist Matt Stypa, “I think the performance will help us with maintaining momentum going into our last two shows of the semester this upcoming Friday and Saturday.”

In addition to the organized performances, a few lucky volunteers were also given the opportunity to showcase their talents on the small stage at Hollybash. Three talented singers took the stage and performed covers of their favorite songs, as well as their own original compositions. There was also a trio of guys who gave a short comedy show, bringing laughter and entertainment to the event.

One of the singers who performed was Chloe Smith, a junior who performed the song “Talk It Up” by Sammy Rae. Smith recently had a sore throat and was nervous before getting on stage to perform.

“Love the song so much. There’s this acapella group that my friend had at another college where she performed the song and I fell in love with it,” Smith said. “I was like, I got to do this. But it’s so vocally challenging because of the agility required to do it, but I tried anyway.”

Overall, the performances at Hollybash were top-notch, and it was a night to remember for everyone who attended. From the headliner Tai Verdes with his captivating stage presence and memorable lyrics, to the Battle of the Bands winners MEASURES who brought their heavy metal and screamo sound to a new audience, to the local indie rock band Frankie Mermaid who impressed with their unique sound, and the talented volunteers who showcased their own talents, the performances at Hollybash were a highlight of the event.

The event was a perfect blend of different musical genres, showcasing the diversity and talent of the performers. It was a night where students came together to enjoy live music, dance and have a great time. The performances added an electrifying atmosphere to the already lively event, making it a great way to kick off the summer break. Hollybash continues to be a highly anticipated event for Rowan students, and the performances are a major draw that leaves a lasting impression. 

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