Collegefest brings Playmates, celebs to campus

Collegefest brings Playmates, celebs to campus

For the past 21 years, CollegeFest has been the premier destination event for thousands of students eager to participate in two days of live entertainment, food and free gifts from corporate sponsors.

But when it hits the Hynes Convention Center this weekend, the largest back-to-school event in the country will be bigger than ever before.

For the first time in its 21-year history, the event is hosting over 90 corporations, ranging from small, local companies to national conglomerates, said Matt Britton, president of CollegeFest promotions.

Last year the festival hosted slightly more than 80, he said.

The musical talent at this year’s event has also grown in breadth as it includes nationally-recognized performers and arguably some of the biggest acts in the festival’s recent history.

“I think first and foremost is the level of entertainment,” Britton said. “There’s first-rate national acts, [we have] Bubba Sparxxx, Damien Marley and Marty Case and Lovehammers, the runner-up on the reality show, ‘Rockstar: INXS.’ Because of that, we have a great variety of music, everything from hip-hop to rock ‘n’ roll.”

Among the TV personalities scheduled to appear are stars from “The Apprentice 4,” cast members from “The Real World: Austin,” and four Playboy playmates.

In addition to the plethora of live entertainment, one of the main reasons thousands of college students flock to the festival is simply to stock up on the free gear from local and national companies.

“Two of the most popular brands among the college audience, Jetblue and Apple will be there,” Britton said.

In March, Britton said they began calling past sponsors, “making sure they stay fresh and relevant to college students.”

By August and September, the work changed toward promotional activity, with ads posted in both local college newspapers and on the Facebook, along with a CollegeFest street team, he said.

Every year, CollegeFest sponsors are also gaining more originality and technique while promoting their products.

“In the last 10 years … companies have become a lot more innovative with their promotions, it used to be ‘come sign up and get a free T-shirt.’ [Now] every company is doing something new to make it a memorable experience for students.”

Over the years, CollegeFest has evolved into the largest and most popular back-to-school event in the country, drawing an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 students every year from 85 different colleges across New England.

“I think its something that’s an institution for college students, a rite of passage for students returning to Boston,” Britton said.

Britton also notes that despite all the hoopla surrounding the planned festivities, it’s also a great opportunity for students to interact with one another, providing an environment different than a classroom or campus could offer.

“It’s the participating companies, it’s the entertainment we offer, but at the end of the day, it’s the Boston- area students that make it successful,” he said.

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