Hoptoberfest — what all of us freshmen have heard was a relaxing, fun-filled way to welcome autumn, get free T-shirts and meet new people — looked a little different this year. Instead of the usual in-person experience, we had a week of virtual events to look forward to, culminating in the annual Hoptoberfest concert on Friday, Oct. 9. Promised to feature “one of the biggest to ever perform for Hopkins” by the Hoptoberfest co-chairs, I was pretty hyped at the idea of some good music to end my week.
In fact, the concert was just in time to, for lack of a better word, celebrate the end of my first round of midterms and inject a good dose of a much-needed destresser into my schedule. Better yet, the co-chairs didn’t disappoint: They brought in Quinn XCII as the artist, along with an interactive Q&A session. My hopes were high as I logged into Hopkins Groups when the livestream was starting.
Quinn XCII appeared in a vibrantly colored, almost pop-art looking room, which I later found to be the perfect atmosphere to pair with his signature blend of pop, hip-hop and soul music. I was surprised by the generally decent sound and video quality (this is what I notice these days), as well as how engaging the performance still felt, albeit through a laptop screen.
Quinn XCII balanced some of his better-known hits like “Love Me Less” with newer songs from his latest album such as “Stacy” and “A Letter To My Younger Self.” As freshman Wendy Yang put it, the concert “was a really fun experience,” and it was eye-opening to hear all the different genres of music available to us today.
“I love Quinn XCII’s music, so it was super nice to hear him perform,” Yang said.
As for me, not being too familiar with his music gave me the additional thrill of being exposed to many entirely new songs, which is a refreshing sort of joy in and of itself. His songs were light, uplifting — sometimes in great contrast to his lyrics — and an all-around great way to wrap up a successful virtual Hoptoberfest. It was just the casual kind of Friday night concert I had in mind.
With everything going so smoothly, I thought I was starting to get the hang of watching this virtual performance. But my luck didn’t last, as partway through the evening, very much out of the blue, I began having trouble viewing the livestream. Naturally blaming my wifi, I reloaded the page a few times, frantic to get back to the concert. I later found out that I was one of the many unlucky viewers who had experienced technical problems while streaming the event.
As one of the fall semester’s first big virtual events, technical issues are, of course, understandable. Wifi outages and connection problems are an inevitable element of virtual learning, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the same problems are bound to accompany virtual events and activities too. But I couldn’t help feeling disappointed at the fact that I had missed out on parts of a live, Hopkins-exclusive Quinn XCII concert. It’s just one of those things that you won’t ever see again.
And frankly, that’s the reality of virtual events, especially during a time in which everybody is still learning and adjusting to new platforms. But while I may have missed out because of technical problems, many international students were simply unable to make it because of their time differences.
Freshman Sulagna Tripathi, a fan who “really likes Quinn XCII,” was dismayed that she wouldn’t be able to see him perform.
“The concert was at 4 a.m. for me!” she said.
In retrospect, despite these technical glitches, I’m glad I was able to catch a good two-thirds of it; I certainly had fun while it lasted, getting a glimpse into the hype that I imagine comes with an on-campus Hoptoberfest. I can only hope that the next Hoptoberfest can be in-person and laptop-free. However, the beauty of having nothing to compare the event to is that I was pretty content with what I got — more or less, as promoted, an evening with Quinn XCII.