PPC’s first in-person Fall Fest since 2019 delayed for two hours


Carlo Zollinger | Staff Photographer

Pitt students at a Lauv concert on Schenley Drive at PPC’s annual Fall Fest on Sunday.

By Jessica McKenzie, Senior Staff Writer

Food trucks, hundreds of students and a large stage blocked off Schenley Drive most of Sunday. Pitt Program Council hosted the first in-person Fall Fest since 2019, offering Pitt students a day to unwind before midterm season goes into full swing.

Although the event was originally scheduled to start at 1 p.m., PPC announced on Instagram Sunday morning that the musical entertainment would be delayed two hours and the festival would be extended until 9 p.m.

Lauv, the event headliner, took the stage at 7:38 p.m., even though he was scheduled to perform in the afternoon. According to Nick Jones, PPC’s public relations director, the delay was because Southwest cancelled Lauv’s flight out of Daytona Beach, Fla., Sunday morning.

“Southwest canceled his flight in Florida, which left him stranded,” Jones said. “We’ve been working together to find a charter airline to get him here.”

The crowd of students kept themselves entertained during the wait, as PPC members threw free T-shirts off the stage and played pop jams from the speakers in between musical acts. Opening acts included Dionysus, the winner of Battle of Bands, Elias Khouri, a local guitarist, and George Clanton, who was provided by WPTS Radio.

Keely Rehman, PPC special events director, said getting Lauv to perform on Pitt’s campus was a long process that required the entire PPC committee.

“Over the summer, right before classes ended, I brainstormed a huge list of performer names with my committee, then we sent it to our agent at Live Nation, and then he narrowed down that list for me with his knowledge of what our budget is,” Rehman said. “We thought that Lauv would be a great fit for Fall Fest because we all kind of really liked his music.”

Henry Cox, a junior psychology and anthropology major, said he was glad to see Pitt’s community enjoy a lively event after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns last year.

“Last year, I felt very isolated. This event really makes Pitt feel like a university again,” Cox said. “It’s nice to be able to walk on campus and have a fun activity like this 一 I feel very connected to the community.”

Rehman said she was most excited for the event because many students have not experienced large entertainment events since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m excited to be back in person. I think everyone is. The last Fall Fest that we had in person was two years ago, so the last concert Pitt had in person was two years ago, which is crazy to think about,” Rehman said. “I’m very excited to be back in person just to see everyone having a great time enjoying the food trucks and everything we have to offer.”

The food trucks in Schenley Drive during the day contained Indian food, meatballs, ice cream, hot dogs and more. Students had the opportunity to get airbrush tattoos and caricature drawings outside Hillman Library during the festival. Jimmy Kanfoush, a local artist from north of Pittsburgh, drew student’s caricatures in the afternoon.

Kanfoush said he was glad to see the Pitt community come to life again at Fall Fest.

“I think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. I mean, we all need to get outside to enjoy the weather, enjoy each other’s company, and most importantly to be friendly with each other,” Kanfoush said. “I think the pandemic changed the way people kind of act toward each other, but it’s all positive.”

Kanfoush is a self-taught artist and has been drawing caricatures for 35 years. He said he started drawing because he liked to copy the images in the “Batman” and “Spider-Man” comic books as a toddler. He has drawn caricatures at multiple events for Pitt.

“I really like watching the students’ reaction when I show them their pictures 一 I enjoy making people happy and watching them laugh,” Kanfoush said. “As an artist, I’m trained to pick up some nuances in people’s expressions 一 it’s kind of my job to kind of capture that in a still picture form.”

It takes Kanfoush less than five minutes to complete most caricature drawings. He said his favorite part of drawing people is showing their personality in their picture by concentrating on their most prominent facial features.

“After practicing so much as a kid, I’m able to draw people within minutes and try to capture their personality,” Kanfoush said. “I try to put a little creativity behind the face I’m seeing, so I don’t want to make it exactly the way I see it, but I want to kind of use my own little flair to it my creativity.”

Kanfoush said he thinks Pittsburgh’s art community is what makes the City special, and that he wants to use his gift as a caricature artist to bring Pittsburghers joy.

“I’m going to be the Andy Warhol of caricature artists in Pittsburgh,” Kanfoush said. “I mean, we want to make Pittsburgh a well-known city in the world again, and I think art is a great way to start. And so I’m gonna try to lead the way with caricatures and make everybody happy.”

Rehman said she was most proud of Fall Fest’s turnout because it signified a sense of unity across Pitt’s campus.

“I think that these kinds of events bring together the entire campus, whether you’re a freshman or senior, you get to go listen to the live music and enjoy the food and hang out with friends,” Rehman said. “I think it’s really great for everyone to enjoy something together that their fellow students put on.”