Last weekend, UNBC hosted its wildest party to date. Backyard BBQ has been an annual going-on for the past handful of years. It's NUGSS' way of saying "hey welcome back, here's some beer and music - enjoy yourselves before the academic year roundhouse kicks you in the heart!" This year's line-up was a pleasant and impressive surprise - The Zolas, Sleepy Tom, and LOUDPVCK (the V reads like an A, so Loud Pack). I only know as much about the EDM scene as anyone else who occasionally reads VICE, but I was told by friends that Sleepy Tom and LOUDPVCK are big names. As for The Zolas, I think it's pretty cool that UNBC scored an indie act, even if that act is starting to sound more and more like The 1975 or some other alternative-but-not-really-alternative-anymore pop band.
I arrived at campus around 7pm and caught the tail end of the event's opening act. Not much was happening, so I decided to start drinking. It turns out the beer garden was where I would spent the majority of my night. While there, I even made small talk with the drummer of The Zolas while he cooly smoked a cigarette (in a non-smoking zone). By the time The Zolas took the stage, more people had arrived and it became evident that many UNBCers and townies had come to see this Vancouver band. The songs they played were mostly from their newer EP. People sang along. Somebody waved a lighter in the air. The band opened with Molotov Girls and later played You're Too Cool, which are two of my three favourite Zolas tracks, so I'd say it was a good set.
After The Zolas is when things got a bit crazy. Even more people came for the DJs. First and second years who pre-drank in their dorms were now drunk in public for the first time. They made up the bulk of the front of the crowd, dancing and shoving and laughing and grinding. Yes, they grinded. I felt sorry for the middle-age security guards who had to stand around looking stoic and authoritative while 18 year olds awkwardly and excitedly rubbed their bodies together. Sleepy Tom played a good set, with danceable beats that everyone (including myself) enjoyed gettin' jiggy to. LOUDPVCK's DJ style was a bit more aggressive, as his all-caps stage name might suggest. He dropped a lot of F-bombs, asking if we were F-ed up, etc. but at this point in the night people were really into that. They yelled back and cheered and things were getting sloppy in the front rows. My friends and I danced along until the buzz of our $4 drinks wore off, at which point we returned to the beer garden for our night cap(s). Did I mention that it had been raining the entire time? A light consistent drizzle - enough to turn the field into mud, but not enough to deter everyone from dancing. If anything, the images created by the rain (muddy shoes, wet hair, running mascara) made the night more memorable.
The #15 has never been as crowded as it was that night, probably around 1am. The music had stopped, the field was pure mud, and the NUSC event spaced smelled mildly of cheap beer vomit. Oh, to be young. So my first Backyard BBQ experience mostly consisted of dancing, people-watching, drinking, and catching up with friends I hadn't seen all summer. But ask any 18 year-old who was there and I think their story would be a bit blurrier. All the same, I think NUGSS can pat itself on the back for this one. Whether NUGSS continues to move the event in the direction of EDM or attempts to take on more indie bands, they've set a solid precedent for years of Backyard BBQ'ing to come.
Post and photography by Dara Campbell