Walnutpalooza and headliner Laundry Day survived the storm

Walnutpalooza and headliner Laundry Day survived the storm

Phi Kappa Theta hosted its first philanthropic music festival to raise money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
Published: April 24, 2023
Walnutpalooza hosted by Phi Kappa Theta at RedGate in Syracuse, NY
Cooper Lang of Rhodes Corduroy, along with several other local and NYC artists, performed at RedGate on April 24.

Rain showers and thunder didn’t stop hoards of students from packing into a cramped, humid basement on Saturday night to rock out at Walnutpalooza. 

The music festival, hosted by the on-campus fraternity Phi Kappa Theta, brought together 10 artists from around campus and New York City to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN). The organization raises “funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada.” Walnutpalooza successfully raised $6,500.

Sophomore John Hepp, Phi Kappa Theta’s philanthropy chair, alongside fraternity brother Nicholas Held, created the idea to have a concert for the philanthropy event. They partnered with RedGate, a local venue founded in the fall of 2022, that hosts indie, pop and rock bands with the goal of getting people together for the sake and love of music.

The lineup for the event was headlined by NYC’s Laundry Day, in addition to sets from: Pop Culture, Rhodes Corduroy, 89Frogs, The Gritty Jawns, Sammu Curcu, The Garage Lights, Daffo, Dell’acqua and Nate Fenn.

Walnutpalooza hosted by Phi Kappa Theta in Syracuse, NY
The student-run music festival started in the parking lot behind the fraternity house before being moved indoors at RedGate.

“A lot of the lineup came from RedGate, they have a ton of connections with SU bands. They were able to bring in Laundry Day along with many others and Nick Held connected with Daffo and Dell’acqua,” Hepp said. 

The concert was originally set to take place in the open lot behind the fraternity house, but due to strong rain the event organizers scrambled to move the show indoors. RedGate was able to host the concert and fans on Euclid Avenue at the last minute. 

“RedGate was extremely happy to partner with Phikap and host the event. While it wasn’t the original plan, as we had a beautiful outdoor setup planned, we were able to pivot due to the rain and since we host shows every weekend, the task felt very familiar to us,” SU junior and RedGate founder, Dylan Fox said.

It was clear that this event was made possible by impeccable teamwork and “brotherhood.” Throughout the entirety of the showcase, multiple students shoveled water into bins that had seeped into the basement in an effort to protect the electrical equipment and musicians.

Walnutpalooza hosted by Phi Kappa Theta at RedGate in Syracuse, NY
The audience quickly shuffled inside the house-turned-music venue after the rain came pouring down outside of Phi Kappa Theta.

A palpable buzz of excitement was in the air as students piled into the basement around 9 p.m. when the doors opened. The weather seemed to faze absolutely no one and was clearly not a threat to Central New York students. 

“Although it would have been cool outside, the organizers were so resilient despite the rain ruining that and they put on a great show. It was an intimate venue and everyone who waited, you could tell really wanted to be there, so it was a dedicated crowd,” Syracuse senior Emily Goldberg said.

Senior audience member Drew Bartelstein also had good things to say about the philanthropic music festival.

“I loved the event. I think it’s really cool how college kids can put something like this together. My favorite band was Laundry Day and Daffo because I have previously seen and loved them,” Bartelstein said.

Fox added that in his “humble opinion,” he felt that the Laundry Day set was the best set ever played at RedGate. 

The three-and-a-half-hour show proved to be a success as it not only brought together a massive crowd of music lovers, it was able to raise valuable funding for such an organization.