By: Kat Myers
Webster University’s second Annual Creative Jamboree took a surprising turn when students attending the free event, expecting to see live music and environmental awareness activities, were asked to take cover in the University Center’s lower level due to tornado warnings in the area.
At about 7 p.m., the main lobby of the UC was filled with students and members of the community along with the buzz of laughter and light conversation as they gathered to take part in the many environmental awareness activities available. Activities included recycle-related carnival games, water testing (bottled water vs. tap water), a fundraising booth which sold recycled notebooks and other “green” products, as well as a presentation of information from Power Shift on electronics and battery recycling.
Other activities offered included bubble blowing, a collective drawing station, caricature portraits and an open mic. Within the doors of the lounge, juniors Ian Lubar and Pete Ayres entertained a small group of admiring patrons with music, bobbing their heads and snacking on pizza, enjoying a wet yet seemingly blissful Earth Day.
At about 8 p.m., before the next act was about to hit the stage, UC staff alerted everyone in the upper level to move downstairs to take cover from a potential tornado. Immediately, the jamboree participants and everyone in attendance packed up and headed toward the Fitness Center in the lower level of the building.
Though it seemed the fun was over, those that came for a good time were not willing to give up. Makeshift tables were set up and some activities were resumed. Jesse Williams and Shelly Koesterer of The FU’zz broke out their guitars and played acoustically to anyone willing to listen as Jon Doe and The Pathological Lyre sang acappella in the weight room.
“The FU’zz had a great time,” Williams said. “We played well and we think the other bands played well. Despite the tornado warnings, everyone still managed to have fun which goes to show all the positive energy that went into the event.”
Students gathered in clusters on the floor and against the walls. Parents and friends who came exchanged disgruntled comments and picked at their cameras as fitness center employees shuffled through the hallways, occasionally murmuring to walkie talkies, trying to stay updated on the storm.
As news viewers in the weight room concluded that the block of red meteorology symbolizing a tornado would not hit Webster, everyone moved back upstairs to resume the entertainment by 9 p.m. The show began again with a poetry reading by Chelse Williams, a member of Webster Students for Environmental Sustainability.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Koesterer. “Even though there was a tornado warning, we still had a good time hanging out and playing music for everyone in the basement.”
Afterward, The FU’zz, Cough Boys Cough Boys and Gang Control entertained the masses with a delicate mixture of alternative, experimental, and punk rock. Others jumped on the stage throughout the remainder of the night to give their melodious spin as well.
Luckily, the tornado that tore through St. Louis County bypassed the Webster Groves area, but did hit the suburbs of Maryland Heights and New Melle. The storm, which ripped the roof off the main terminal at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport and left more than 47,000 people without power, did not result in any serious injuries or deaths.
Despite the fun, students who attended the second Annual Creative Jamboree will remember how their Good Friday / Earth Day celebration went from being a pleasant gathering to a cramped refuge in a matter of minutes.