Homecoming concert hosts musicians popular on TikTok

One+banner+event+during+homecoming+week+was+the+homecoming+concert%2C+the+first+concert+on+campus+since+fall+of+2019%2C+sponsored+by+the+Warrior+Entertainment+Network+and+the+Homecoming+Committee

One banner event during homecoming week was the homecoming concert, the first concert on campus since fall of 2019, sponsored by the Warrior Entertainment Network and the Homecoming Committee

Gabriel Hathaway, copy editor

Homecoming made a big comeback last week at Winona State University. For the last two years, homecoming has been different from typical years, due to COVID-19 in 2020 and a blizzard on homecoming weekend in 2019. To make this year’s homecoming memorable, the university put a lot of work into planning a variety of events they hoped students would enjoy.
Associate Director of Student Activities, Tracy Rahim, said “reintroducing homecoming to the whole campus is what our challenge was this year.”
One banner event during homecoming week was the Homecoming Concert, the first concert on campus since fall of 2019, sponsored by the Warrior Entertainment Network and the Homecoming Committee. The concert was on Wednesday, Oct. 5, featuring PUBLIC and Jax in the newly remodeled Kryzsko Ballroom. Admission was free to all students and face masks were required.
Jax, real name Jackie Miskanic, is a pop-rock singer who often infuses humor into her music. Jax got her big break on TikTok after posting a short parody song, “From Stacy’s Mom’s Perspective.” Jax also finished in third place on the fourteenth season of “American Idol.” PUBLIC is a pop trio composed of high school friends, John Vaughan (lead vocals and guitar), Matt Alvarado (bassist) and Ben Lapps (drummer). The band got popular after their song “Make You Mine” blew up, also on TikTok.
Jax opened the concert at 8 p.m. with her hit-song “90s Kids,” popularized on TikTok. Jax’s high energy performance quickly rubbed off on the crowd of more than 200. Moves were busted and fists were pumped as students sang Jax’s lyrics right along with her.

After a couple songs, Jax interacted with the audience, tossing out Gushers and Fruit by the Foot. Jax commented that the flannel she wore was from a group of flannel-wearing audience members from Mankato, Minn., near the front of the audience.
Towards the end of her set, Jax called up two redheads from the audience, Ahlea Wright and Mayme Nelson, both third-year Winona State students, to help her with a song from a “ginger’s perspective.”
“Jax was such a fun performer to have, she was so chill and so nice, and I just want to be her best friend,” Wright, the Warrior Entertainment Network’s main stage director said.
Both Wright and Nelson were there early working the concert as a part of the Warrior Entertainment Network and the Homecoming Committee. Before the show, Jax approached them to see if they would come on stage for a song. The “From a Ginger’s Perspective” song came from a TikTok that was originally made for her red haired boyfriend.
PUBLIC performed after Jax, their set ran from 9:18 p.m. to 10:10 p.m. PUBLIC also played high energy songs to get the crowd moving. They demonstrated unique vocal delivery and bouncy bass lines as students swayed, jumped and danced. This concert was only their second performance since COVID but the band demonstrated great interplay between members and the crowd. PUBLIC closed the concert with their hit song “Make You Mine” and hosted a meet and greet afterwards. Ahlea Wright spoke highly of the band’s willingness to connect with students.
“PUBLIC really didn’t have to do the meet and greet afterwards, but that was their decision and I think that made a lot of students really excited and happy too,” Wright said, “so it was really great of them to
do that.”

Musical acts PUBLIC and Jax joined in on Winona State’s homecoming festivities as guests on campus on Wednesday, Oct. 5, playing a concert free to students. Photo contributed by Mercedes Johnson.

According to Wright, the Warrior Entertainment Network originally planned to have Yam Haus perform, only to be interrupted by the band’s touring plans. Luckily, they found PUBLIC and Jax who “fit
the bill.”
“PUBLIC was kind of in the same vibe as Yam Haus, and Jax plus PUBLIC cost exactly what we were budgeting for, so it was just perfect, everything fell into place,” Wright said.
The Director of the Student Union and Activities Department, George Micalone, covered the artist relations side of coordinating the concert. Micalone has 20 years of experience in booking entertainment for college campuses. Micalone commented that concerts take a lot of time, money and effort to have on campus. The last concert at Winona State was in fall of 2019, and the previous concert to that was a few years earlier, according to Micalone.
“Nothing else has been planned beyond this semester, but I think there is a desire to try and continue to offer concerts,” Micalone said. “I believe you gotta keep trying to build the [concert] culture back.”
Micalone urged students to give events a try.
“My philosophy on events on campus in general is that if you haven’t heard of it or you’re not sure, give it five or ten minutes then if it sucks you can leave,” Micalone said.
Micalone continued to talk about the importance of students participating in events.
“If students don’t take advantage of what’s presented to them it’s hard to bring other things that you may be more interested in next time,” Micalone said. “So if you want to see bigger and better you got to show up to the things that are present and now.”
For students looking to take more of an active role in event planning on campus, Wright said the Warrior Entertainment Network is always looking for more students.
“We love having that extra feedback and more people in the conversation with us so we can get a wider variety of perspectives,” Wright said. “We really really love having people in the network, we’re so chill. We’re very friendly and we love when people show an interest in bringing events to students.”
Rahim shared her praise of the students who helped make this year’s homecoming, one
to remember.
“We put a lot of time and energy into creating a wide variety of events and activities that students will enjoy, along with infusing the traditions of pep-fest, club fair, the parade, those kinds of things,” Rahim said. “I’m really proud of the student committee members for putting forth a memorable home sweet home, homecoming
this year.”