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PPC announces fall fest performers - The Pitt News

The Pitt News

PPC announces fall fest performers

Rae+Sremmurd%26apos%3Bs+Swae+Lee+performs+on+the+Sahara+stage+at+the+Coachella+Music+and+Arts+Festival+in+Indio%2C+Calif.%2C+late+on+Friday%2C+April+15%2C+2016.+%28Brian+van+der+Brug%2FLos+Angeles+Times%2FTNS%29
Rae Sremmurd's Swae Lee performs on the Sahara stage at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., late on Friday, April 15, 2016. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Rae Sremmurd's Swae Lee performs on the Sahara stage at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., late on Friday, April 15, 2016. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Rae Sremmurd's Swae Lee performs on the Sahara stage at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., late on Friday, April 15, 2016. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

By Alexa Bakalarski / Senior Staff Writer

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Pitt Program Council is hopping in a hip direction for this year’s Fall Fest.

The Council announced this week that Rae Sremmurd, a chart-topping hip-hop duo, will headline this semester’s Fall Fest, an annual free concert on Bigelow Boulevard that will take place on Sept. 17.

NAWAS, an electronic R&B-inspired group, and Frenship, an electro-pop band, will open for the duo, and the winner of PPC’s Battle of the Bands, which PPC will determine Sept. 8th, will kick off the performance at 1 p.m.

In last year’s semester-opening celebration, PPC hosted Walk the Moon and, later in the year, for Bigelow Bash, B.o.B and X Ambassadors. In 2014, the Council hosted Hoodie Allen at Fall Fest and Timeflies at Bigelow Bash.

This year, PPC is also adding a section for Pitt Arts, who will be featuring local artists and doing caricatures.

Truth X Live – a live experience from truth, a campaign against smoking – is also adding to the Fall Fest experience with therapy dogs, Buzzfeed’s Tasty food truck and a photo-op with a Steelers player.

Although PPC generally picks the artists, this year it shared responsibility with WPTS Radio, Pitt’s student radio station.

Claire Harshbarger, the station manager for WPTS Radio, said PPC asked the station if they wanted to be involved in Fall Fest after PPC found out WPTS was no longer having a fall show. Instead, WPTS is hosting monthly shows at different venues around the city.

WPTS Radio chose NAWAS as an opener because the group is relatively unknown.

“We’re here to… introduce new music to the student body,” Harshbarger said. “That’s kind of what our mission is: playing artists that aren’t Top 40 or classic rock but are fun to listen to.”

The group NAWAS is based in Nashville, Tennessee, though the members are originally from Louisiana. Influenced by artists such as Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Prince, their songs “Wrong” and “So Low” have been featured on Spotify’s Weekend Buzz, New Music Friday and Fresh Finds: Hiptronix playlists.

Rae Sremmurd is made up of brothers Khalif “Swae Lee” Brown and Aaquil “Slim Jxmmi” Brown. The duo is from Tupelo, Mississippi where they got their start performing shows in abandoned buildings they used to live in.

Their first single on the records label Ear Drummer Records, “No Flex Zone,” entered Billboard’s Hot 100 and peaked at number 36 on Top 40 in 2014. Its second single, “No Type,” peaked at number 16 on Top 40. Their first album, SremmLife, had a top five debut on Billboard’s Top 200 and a number one debut on Billboard Hip Hop.

Friends James Sunderland and Brett Hite make up the Los Angeles band Frenship, which formed in 2013. Their biggest single, “Capsize,” featuring Emily Warren, peaked at number 20 on the Billboard charts. They plans to release their debut EP “Truce” on September 2nd, just weeks before Fall Fest.

Courtney Ross, special events director for PPC, said she could not comment on how much PPC paid the performers because it was against the performer contracts to do so.

Despite only having one headliner — the number of headliners depends on available funds — Ross said the goal of the Fall Fest committee is to give the event a “festival feel.”

“We tried to get a lot of genres in there,” Ross said. “So even if we didn’t have two headliners, we still had variety.”

Editor’s Note: In a previous version of the story, The Pitt News reported that the Pitt Program Council will host its annual Battle of the Bands on Sept. 9. The event will be on Sept. 8. The Pitt News also reported that the Pitt Program Council will hold the therapy dogs, Steelers photo-op and food truck events. The anti-smoking campaign truth will host the events. The story has been updated to reflect these changes.

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PPC announces fall fest performers