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Culture Shock 2022: A Comeback Story

By Connor O'Rourke

Main Stage day 1 of Culture Shock. Photo by Jordan Meiland.


The rain falls gently on a gloomy Friday morning on campus and while the weather may give off a sense of dreariness, the energy among students could not be more opposite. The date is May 6 and the Purchase student body and staff alike are getting ready to have the first Culture Shock on campus since the spring of 2019.


The overall vibe among students was described very well by senior Yoshi Takahashi, who said he had “literally zero expectations’’ for Culture Shock. “I’m having the best time I could have,” said Takahashi. In many ways, this shows that the absence of Culture Shock has made many students beyond grateful to have one again, rain or shine.


While the rain falls, carnival rides and food trucks rise as they are assembled on the grass near the admissions buildings. In years past, the main stage for Culture Shock was set up in the admissions parking lot. But this year, due to adverse weather, it was moved indoors to the Stood. Even with weather posing as an obstacle, especially for outdoor activities, the sense of excitement among students on campus was palpable, nevertheless.

Princess Nokia. Photo by Jordan Meiland.


Senior Tessa Freeman described her first Culture Shock since 2019 as, “really weird.” “It’s different because it’s all indoors now,” she said. “It kind of feels like being a freshman again. Everything about it just makes me feel like I should be a freshman right now.”


But this isn’t a feeling Freeman is trying to avoid necessarily. “It’s kind of a nice way to close out the four years,” she added.


Popular attractions included a funnel cake truck, an ice cream food truck and even a beer tent that was set up for students 21 and older. And while the carnival rides are usually quite popular among students, there were only a couple hours during day two of Culture Shock where the rain let up enough for students to go on rides. But make no mistake, students made the most out of the rides for the short while they were able to use them.


While the weather on Friday may have put a damper on the rides, it could not put a damper on the day one line up. Throughout the day students shuffled in and out of the Stood to watch performances. Blue bracelets handed out by the Purchase Student Government Association served as the ticket to get into and enjoy all the activities Culture Shock had to offer.

The crowd during Princess Nokia. Photo by Jordan Meiland.


The Friday lineup included anticipated performers such as Penthouse Boys, Lip Critic, Malaya, KeiyaA and Annie DiRusso. The most anticipated name on the Friday night lineup was Princess Nokia who came onstage for her performance at 11 p.m. to close out the day one concerts. Nokia played some of her biggest hits including her songs “Slumber Party”, “I like Him” and “Boys are From Mars”.


Nokia, who was accompanied by her very talented back up dancers, not only performed great vocally but also put on an incredible show with phenomenal energy that will be remembered by Purchase students for years to come. Gianna Cusato, a senior in the Dance Conservatory, sat in the first row for Princess Nokia’s performance and said simply, “It was incredible.”

Imperial Triumphant. Photo by Eli Barnes.


The day two lineup for Saturday was also full of artists who made sure not to disappoint during their live shows. The big names on day two included Father Koi, Vibe World Order, Laura Elliott, Soul Glo, Imperial Triumphant and Rae Khalil. The day two closer and arguably the biggest name in the Saturday lineup was J.I the Prince of N.Y, who received a massive reaction from the crowd when he played his song “Need Me”. The crowd, who were seeing their last Culture Shock concert, kept up the energy for J.I late into the night. Cusato, who is a big fan of Princess Nokia, was not as familiar with the day two lineup, but had all the same excitement going in.


“Personally, I’m pumped regardless but I don’t really know anyone performing tonight. I’m still looking forward to being front row,” said Cusato in a statement that perfectly describes the mentality for many of the Culture Shock concert goers.

Soul Glo. Photo by Eli Barnes.


Along with the sets on the main stage in the Stood, student bands and artists also got to perform. While the original plan was to have a side stage outdoors for student bands to perform, the rain caused a shift in plans and side stage was moved into Whitsons, the smaller venue at the Stood. Popular on campus bands, including On Pink and Dogs on Shady Lane, headlined side stage and did not disappoint.


All in all, Culture Shock 2022 seems to have exceeded expectations, as well as garner some excitement for 2023. For junior William Cavallo, this was his first Culture Shock, and also exactly the kind of concert experience he had hoped for.

Dogs on Shady Lane. Photo by Jordan Meiland.


“The crowd was so into it,” he said. “The energy was just good. I had a great time and it blew my expectations out of the water.” While some Culture Shock attendees were shaken by the bad weather, overall, students were both happy and grateful to have this event and to share it with so many people who have been deprived of this experience for the past few years.

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