March Madness Music Festival 2016

From April 1st to the 3rd, NCAA’s March Madness Music Festival was held in Houston’s Discovery Green park, located downtown near Toyota Center. A multitude of bands and artists performed, including  Panic! At the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Kendrick Lamar, Twenty One Pilots, Jason Derulo, Pitbull, and Maroon 5. Two of the members of our Howler News staff were at the shows: Minnah and Ruth went to the show on Friday the 1st, and Ruth went to the show on Saturday the 2nd. Keep reading for our individual accounts of the shows.

I got to the venue at 10 am, even though general admission to the venue didn’t actually open until 4 pm. I am a huge fan of Panic!, so I wanted to be as close to the stage as possible for their set. Eventually Ruth and a few of my other friends met up with me. We went through security, and then ran for our lives towards the stage. The entrance we had started at, which was one of four, was positioned very far away from where the actual stage was. This led to us flying across the field towards the stage. Luckily, we managed to get second and third row, just behind the barricade. Here we stood for another 45 minutes, waiting for Lukas Graham, the first band of the concert. Their performance was surprisingly entertaining, seeing as we didn’t know anything about them before that day.

Brendon Urie, lead singer of Panic! at the Disco, performing at the NCAA March Madness Music Festival 2016.
Minnah Zaheer
Brendon Urie, lead singer of Panic! at the Disco, performing at the NCAA March Madness Music Festival 2016.

By 6:30, Panic! took the stage. As someone who has been a fan of theirs for nearly ten years, I really enjoyed their set. Even though this was my 7th time seeing them in concert, it felt just as exciting and energetic as the first time. Their stage presence, particularly that of Brendon Urie, the lead singer, has never been anything short of incredible. Seeing as the band was performing on April Fool’s Day, they jokingly covered about 15 seconds of a Fall Out Boy song, mimicking Patrick Stump’s soul-toned voice. By the end of their set, however, lots of Fall Out Boy fans started shoving their way to the front. Multiple fans felt overcrowded and at least twenty had to get pulled out by security. The crowd got even worse when Fall Out Boy was actually onstage, so I made my way a little further back in the audience to avoid getting overwhelmed. Once I was settled, I had a great time enjoying the band’s set, where they played mostly new songs and crowd favorites. After six hours of standing in the crowd and watching three bands, leaving didn’t seem like the worst idea in the world. The bands themselves were incredibly talented and knew how to put on a good show, but the violent and eager nature of some of the crowd made the experience that much more intense.

Fall Out Boy performing at the NCAA March Madness Music Festival 2016.
Minnah Zaheer
Fall Out Boy performing at the NCAA March Madness Music Festival 2016.

On Saturday I was there for Twenty One Pilots, but I saw Jason Derulo and Twenty One Pilots. I arrived at Discovery Green at 1 pm, and after getting inside I didn’t push my way through the crowd instead I went on the Ferris wheel with my mother. Being in the wheel you could see the massive crowd that I, after getting off the Ferris wheel, would soon be squeezing my way through.

Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph bowing at the end of their set.
Ruth Ferron
Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph bowing at the end of their set.

Jason Derulo’s set was very energetic because of the dancers that where behind him, but when Twenty One Pilots got on stage is when the crowd started to get hyped. Three songs in Twenty One Pilots’ drummer, Josh Dun, went into the crowd while playing his drums halfway during their song, Ride. There was never a dull moment during the Twenty One Pilots set because of their theatrical way of performing. In the second to last song the singer, Tyler Joseph, disappeared off of the stage leaving first time audience members confused, while fans where excited about seeing Tyler climb up something. Behind the audience he appeared climbing up a giant pillar while finishing the song. The end of the concert ended emotionally when Tyler said “we are Twenty One Pilots and so are you.”