by Tom Brown



On Saturday August 25, the Benedictine University Sports Complex played host to nationally-recognized bands Neon Trees and The All-American Rejects as part of Ben Fest 2012.

The event, sponsored by Navistar, served as the finale of welcome weekend for the new freshman class of 2016.

The event began with rock-and-roll veterans The All -American Rejects playing hit songs such as the 2005 single “Move Along” and their most successful song 2009’s “Gives You Hell.”

“We really love doing these types of concerts,” said lead guitarist Nick Wheeler when asked what he thought of playing at a college like Ben U. “It provides us the opportunity to be more personable with our audience and really connect with them,” he continued.

Freshman student Andrew Guibord expressed his reaction after the performance.

“I thought that the All-American Rejects were a very fun band both with their music as well as their ability to make the audience laugh,” said BenU freshman Andrew Guibord. “They brought great energy to the stadium from the first second right up until the end.”

Following the All-American Rejects was the alternative performance of Neon Trees highlighted by their hit singles “Animal” and “Everybody Talks.”  The band, originally from Utah, enjoyed the festival atmosphere of Benfest.“I think playing shows like these really brings out the fun in people,” said lead vocalist Tyler Glenn. “It’s a real party atmosphere and I think it’s really fun for us to see people out there having a good time.”

      Like the All-American Rejects, Neon Trees was highly reviewed by the fans. “It was good to hear new songs from Neon Trees,” said Guibord. “I think that most people only knew a few songs going in so it was good to see their versatility.”

Benfest was not only a success in terms of the music, but it was also a great event for the new freshman class of 2016.

“Benfest is a great way to welcome the new class into the Benedictine community,” said Deb Smith director of University events.  “It is a perfect event for the new students to go to on their first weekend here.”

Navistar, who partnered with BenU for Benfest, agreed with Smith that this event was very beneficial for the new students.

      “This concert was a great way for the new students to start college off on the right foot,” said Greg Elliott, senior vice of Human Resources and Administration at Navistar. “Not only was there great music but the event also gave them the opportunity to meet people that they will be around for the next four years of their lives.”

“I am very glad I came out for the show,” said Guibord. “I was able to meet a lot of people and see some good music and now I feel more ready for the beginning of my four year journey of college.”