All Time Low Rocks Madison’s Halloween Celebration, Freakfest

Another year of the highly celebrated Halloween weekend brought thousands of people out to Madison’s State Street celebration, Freakfest. The annual celebration, hosted on Madison’s famous State Street, connecting the Wisconsin State Capitol building to the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, is the sight of an annual late fall party drawing people from around the state. As a tradition, attendees come dressed in their Halloween costumes to socialize and see many great performances by national acts. In the past Freakfest has hosted OAR, Third Eye Blind, and OK Go.

After years of out-of-control crowds, riots, excessive underage drinking, and unruliness, the celebration was turned over to the city who has now been handling the event for a quite a while. The change in management resulted in this years horde of security staff and implementation of more safety measures. The slew of Madison Police, Sheriff’s Department, and State Patrol in addition to event and security staff made it clear that Freakfest chaos was a thing of the past.

There was an impressive amount of people that dressed up for the occasion, having some rather interesting ideas for costumes. Anything from Deadmau5 to people dressed as human genitalia could be found roaming the street. The grim reaper was even hopping around back and forth on spring stilts. While trekking up and down State, I came across Keith Stone, Chucky, Jigsaw, and an onslaught of other creative looking people.

I rather enjoyed myself at Freakfest because many of the people were my age and the music was great. It’s always nice to see festivals where people are allowed to take the street and run around like fools every once in a while. I was also impressed at how nice the people were at Freakfest. Most of the people there were students at UW-Madison and were really social, happy to take photos, and just enjoyable to be around unlike the the majority of people at my school, UW-Milwaukee.

This year, All Time Low headlined the celebration for an immense crowd. “This is probably the biggest crowd we’ve seen,” said one of the production staff. The crowd was a great sight to see from behind the stage standing on the state capitol steps. State Street was lined with freaks as far as I could see. During the intermission between The Ready Set and All Time Low, I was able to take the stage myself and see the awesome crowd firsthand. They rather enjoyed their pictures being taken as they danced to a great selection of party music while they waited for All Time Low.

Once All Time Low took the stage, the amount of people increased dramatically in addition to the crowd’s energy. Looking like “the joker,” vocalist Alex Gaskarth was the center of attention as he talked to the crowed and ripped on the fact that he wasn’t allowed to swear. Rather than swearing he made colorful allusions to swearing which proved to be even funnier.

All Time Low put on a great show and seemed to be on good terms with the excessive crowd. Bringing out hits old and new really go the crowd going. Sound was great and louder than normal, but seemed to be okay with everyone there. Powering through songs and short talks with the crowd ATL ended Halloween night on an awesome note.

Near the end of the show was when Freakfest became more chaotic; people stumbling off the streets and getting back to their houses and dorms. Though many people were pretty drunk, there wasn’t any beer sold on the street. You either came that way or visited one of the many bars on State. Sirens blaring everywhere outside the festival area showed that just because the city controls the event doesn’t mean people won’t have a little too much fun.

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