RALT and Riley Van Oyen raise spirits with ‘Back to the Graveyard’

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The Glassboro based band Snowman Fight performs at the RALT Back to Graveyard outdoor music event. — Staff Writer / Jose Ascencio

Rowan Alternative Music (RALT) and Riley Van Oyen presented “Back to the Graveyard” on Oct. 28. This Halloween-themed concert brought in an enormous and enthusiastic costume-wearing crowd.

This event was initially called “Back to the Garden,” which has been putting on shows for a few years now. Lead vocalist Pat Johnson, of the band Floracene, has been performing for five years. They were allowed to perform for Oyen in 2019 but didn’t due to reasons beyond their control. After a small hiatus, they plunged into this new opportunity.

“We finally made our way,” Johnson said. “Riley found a need for it, a want for it, and was able to collaborate with Rowan.”

Opening the show was Rowan’s own Snowman Fight. Led by vocalist Margo Faupel, a junior and music industry major, they’ve been perfecting their craft for almost 2 years. Their performance was full of energy and the crowd reciprocated that feeling. 

“You feed off the energy of the crowd and then the crowd feeds off the energy from you,” said Faupel.

Drummer Ben Kornak, a Rowan senior and music performance major, has seen the growth since they began in 2022. “It’s crazy how we played some shows and eventually people would show up knowing the lyrics. That’s wild,” said Kornak. 

The local-based band Floracene plays at the RALT Back to Graveyard outdoor music event giving a show-stopping musical performance. – Staff Writer / Jose Ascencio

The concert took place in the backyard of Oyen’s family’s property and was decorated for Halloween. For a $10 entrance fee, you were treated to an amazing show. The outdoor setting was amplified by great weather and felt like a throwback Woodstock concert with people sitting on blankets. In between sets, anyone could enjoy $1 hot dogs and refreshments, as well as purchase merchandise from the bands.

Valendina formed just outside of Philadelphia and was the final band to perform. Drummer Eric Miller was shocked at the number of people who came out to enjoy the show.

“10 minutes ago, I said, I think we’re about to play in front of the most people I think we’ve ever played in front of before,” said Miller. “So, this is a very impressive turnout considering like an hour ago we were setting all of our stuff up and there was nobody here yet. But even now, people just keep coming.”

While there was a friendly rivalry between Valendina and Snowman Fight, due to a Sheetz v.s. Wawa dispute, there is plenty of mutual respect between all the bands. Valendina’s lead vocalist Karina Patricelli loves the notion of meeting different people in the music scene. 

“I love getting to meet other bands and see what they’re all about as well,” said Patricelli. Back at the Graveyard managed to showcase the talents of three bands. While the venues are small, they give off the energy of a halftime show at the Super Bowl. 

“I’m going to be the guy to tell you to play in front of whoever you can.,” Johnson said. “If you think one person is going to be there or 1000 people are going to be there you have to bring the same energy. It’s not about how many people are watching, it’s about who’s watching. Put on your show as best as you can like there are a million people in the crowd.”

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