Frost Fest fosters UVic spirit with downtown concert series


Young academics mingled against wood-panelled walls in dress shirts and ties, heels and cocktail dresses, and easily filled up the dance floors for Jon and Roy, The Zolas and DJ Murge. It was a combination of UVic-sponsored local live music and Victoria nightlife for students and one that the crowd enjoyed well into the night of Jan. 24 at the Strathcona Hotel for Frost Fest, the first-ever UVic winter semi-formal.

“There’s definitely a ton of room to grow,” says Lewis Rhodes, UVSS events director. “There’s not a huge legacy of event throwing in recent years.”

“It just goes to show that there’s a shifting culture, hopefully, towards a new era of UVic events where we have good, fun, vibrant events on and off campus.”

The winter semi-formal welcomed UVic students back from the break and is one of the few chances for students to come together downtown for a classy concert series and party. Over 900 tickets were sold and seats were filled in the clubhouse, the games room and at 9one9 for most of the night.

Hugo Wong

People crammed shoulder-to-shoulder on both dance floors from the time the first sets went on. Woodsmen played a high-energy set at 9one9 with keyboardist Sean Kennedy wearing what he calls a “gruesome manatee” mask while vocalist Maryse Bernard sang what she called “an unnamed French song” that few understood but all were charmed by. Jon and Roy followed with their flavour of folk rock with harmonicas and hand drums that further filled the room.

The Grass Tracks opened the clubhouse, where the stage was set against the wall of windows, and the audience stood right up in front of the band. The band played while latecomers lined up outside and began to fill the room. People lined the bar platform and hung over the railings along the upstairs loft, and two girls found the perfect view from their friends’ shoulders to watch as The Zolas took the stage and  played tracks off the band’s new album, Ancient Mars.    

As sets played simultaneously, students wanting to see both headliners had to choose

Hugo Wong

one or hop between the two venues. After the live bands finished up, students milled around the games room, danced to DJ Marshall’s Top 40s-infused set in the clubhouse or migrated downstairs to 9one9 where DJ Murge turned Frost Fest into a full-blown night out.

Considering the only other venue frequented by students from every corner of campus isthe library , Frost Fest was a refreshing change from McPherson in offering the biggest downtown party UVic has sponsored for students. Frost Fest was a far cry from typically the stiff, dry  school-organized events, and the consensus seemed to be that it was hopefully the first of many.