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RamFest is ready for country lovers of CSU

Photo+courtesy+of+Sugar+Britches
Photo courtesy of Sugar Britches

Country is the theme of this year’s RamFest, featuring the traditional sound of the trio Midland and preceded by the more alternative country group Sugar Britches

Ashliee Treblik, the president of RamEvents and a coordinator behind RamFest, shared her experience working for the group and organizing the performance.

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“I really wanted to connect with the other people on campus,” Treblik said. “This is the best job in the world. I get to hang out and throw cool events for a living.”

RamFest has historically included a myriad of different events, including comedy shows, carnivals and concerts.

“I think we picked country at a good year. Beyoncé just released a country album. We are kind of in our yeehaw era as a society.”  –Ashliee Treblik, RamEvents president

In order to determine what will appeal most to Colorado State University attendees, RamEvents sends out a survey to a subset of 3,000 random students, asking questions regarding music genres, ticket prices and event themes. 

“This year, everyone was really jazzed about concerts, and country was one of our popular genres,” Treblik said.

After analyzing data from the survey results, Treblik and her team worked with a middle agent to book big-name bands for the festival. Treblik and her leadership team brought a list of their final three to five bands for the rest of the RamFest staff to vote on. 

“Through working with a middle agent, we get access to a lot of really cool people, so even if we don’t get our first choice, it still goes really well,” Treblik said.

Treblik said the hardest part of organizing RamFest is trying to come to a conclusion with her team regarding a final band or even just a musical genre.

“I think we picked country at a good year,” Treblik said. “Beyoncé just released a country album. We are kind of in our yeehaw era as a society.”

Treblik added that even if country isn’t some students’ cup of tea, RamEvents switches up genres each year in order to appeal to a broader audience. 

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Seeing the happy faces of students makes all of Treblik’s hard work and lack of sleep worthwhile.

“We all hang out up by the stage so we can look out as people are looking at the stage, and they’re singing, and they’re dancing, and they’re having a good time, and that’s the part that’s most rewarding to me,” Treblik said. 

The lead singer of Sugar Britches, Brian Johanson, has been playing for the public since he was about 19 or 20, but he said that Sugar Britches started out as a duo seven years ago and has continued to grow since then.

Sugar Britches’ sound includes throwbacks to traditional honky-tonk from the ’70s as well as some songs that are closer to ’90s country, providing them with a bit of originality from and contrast to mainstream country.

As the main songwriter for Sugar Britches, Johanson often draws inspiration from his own life experiences.

“Probably our most popular song is called ‘Polyamory,’ and that was based on when I was single and dating, and I went on a date with a girl who I didn’t realize was polyamorous because I didn’t read her profile,” Johanson said.

Johanson acknowledged the challenge of band members leaving but added that Sugar Britches is about the music and the feeling they bring to the stage as opposed to the consistency of their bandmates.

“Sugar Britches has always had a pretty good following in Colorado, and then, even when we go out of state, we still have a pretty good response,” Johanson said.

Johanson said that although it can be challenging to connect with people, seeing audience members sing along to his lyrics and relate to those personal emotions is a gratifying onstage experience. 

“We like to get rowdy and have a good time, and I think they (Midland) like to get rowdy and have a good time too, and that’s the good thing about country music — it’s all pretty relatable,” Johanson said.

Reach Alex Hasenkamp at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @alexhasenkamp.

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About the Contributor
Alex Hasenkamp
Alex Hasenkamp, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Alex Hasenkamp is the returning arts and entertainment editor for The Collegian. Last year was Hasenkamp's first time working for The Collegian as the A&E editor, and she is happy to be back. Over the summer, Hasenkamp worked as a writing intern for The Borgen Projecta nonprofit organization working toward ending global poverty. She learned a lot, and she intends on finding another internship or writing position at a paper this upcoming summer as well. Currently a journalism and media communication major and a French minor, Hasenkamp is hoping to study abroad her senior year with the goal of learning and writing about different cultures. Growing up in Seattle, Hasenkamp loves anything music-related and enjoys the opportunity to write about local bands and concerts for the school paper. Besides reporting, Hasenkamp enjoys skiing and playing ultimate frisbee for the Colorado State University team Hell's Belles. She also has an affinity for the visual arts: Previously an art major at the University of Oregon, she enjoys covering local art shows and exhibits, as well as sketching up the occasional graphic for her articles.

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