RebFest

Ray Fletcher is a member of the inaugural Minority-Serving Institution Student Council (MSISC). During his time with the council, he partnered with the 91.5 KUNV radio station to purchase equipment that was geared toward student events. His goal was to place speakers around campus to increase the number of listeners for the KUNV radio station. Because of the equipment, KUNV was able to do advertising through the station and reach students, faculty, and staff campus-wide. In addition, KUNV is now able to do live remote broadcasts for any events involving KUNV. Having the ability to reach diverse audiences and promote cultural events is important to historically underrepresented students. 

Now, Ray has done another important project. RebFest: A Day at the Breach was held in March of this year. It was a festival set to showcase several musical acts. It highlighted Las Vegas’ hottest emerging historically underrepresented talent in rock, indie, hip-hop, and more. Festival-goers experienced live performances on two stages on the UNLV campus in the Student Union Courtyard and Pida Plaza.

What was RebFest and what did it represent?

RebFest is an art and music festival held on the campus of UNLV, put on by KUNV The Rebel HD2 in conjunction with the MSI Student Council. RebFest 2022 represented a return to campus for both students and for major events. It was a chance to showcase artists from underrepresented communities in a way that the campus has not seen since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How did you come up with RebFest? What was your thought process?

I didn’t personally come up with RebFest. RebFestwas an annual event for a few years before the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to that in 2020. I, like most people, was ready to return to normalcy and wanted to put together a fun and exciting event for the campus and the community, sort of a re-introduction to in-person gatherings.

RebFest was clearly a success. What was your favorite part of planning and throwing this event?

I’m super grateful that the event was successful, safe, and fun. Personally, my favorite part was seeing everyone’s reaction to the event. Some of the artists who performed at the event had never performed at a music festival before. Multiple artists told me it was their dream to see their name on a music festival poster, and we made that happen. The response I saw from the volunteer staff, the performers, and the attendees was an incredible sight to see. It made all the stress leading up to the event completely worth it.

What challenges did you face throwing RebFest and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge I faced with organizing this event was making everything work in the space we were in. The student union courtyard isn’t the biggest venue, but it ended up working out perfectly. I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to add a “fun zone” with games and activities due to the space limitations, but we made it work and the one entertainment vendor (mobile video game trailer) was a hit. It took a lot of creativity from myself and from my team of partners to figure out a way to maximize the potential of the space we had to work with.

Who are some people who contributed behind the scenes that you’d like to thank?

This event was a huge team effort. Definitely a huge shoutout to Dr. Ashton Ridley, general manager of KUNV and advisor to The Rebel HD2. He was instrumental in helping the all-volunteer staff organize the event. Speaking of the volunteer staff, shoutout to A-Scat, Lani, Shoshi, Kevin Kan, Matt Raftery, Cienna Pilotin, Cristal “like the champagne,” Alain Desaix, and Jason Beatty for all they contributed to this event. Sandra Smith consulted and stage-managed the event and we couldn’t have pulled this off without her and her team. DJ Kelly J also came through and was a massive contributor to this event. And of course, the biggest shoutout to Dr. Renee Watson and the MSI Student Council who were 100% on board with my idea from the beginning. They were all so supportive and understood my vision and their support was absolutely crucial to making this event successful. And finally, big thanks to all our sponsors who played a big role in this event as well: Rebel promotion group, It’s fire entertainment, It’s gorgeous Musique, 100 black men, Les Olson Realtor, the ACDC (Asian Community Development Council), Certified Affordable Housing, and One AAPI.

What are some projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share?

With the success of RebFest 2022, we’re already looking forward to RebFest 2023. We would love to make this an annual event that will become a staple of MSI Week. In the meantime, I’m working on putting together another event for the fall. I would love to have two music festivals a year, one in the fall semester and one in spring.

What are some projects that you hope to work on in the future?

Personally, I’m working towards putting together a podcast series. I can’t give away too many details, but I’ll put it this way: I want to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of everyday people. Why do we focus so much attention on celebrities and the rich and famous when we all have cool stories to tell. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put this together and bring some of those stories out from the dark and celebrate the positive things that the media doesn’t cover.

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