By Jordan Record
Federal Frenzy, the popular music and arts festival that takes place in Downtown Youngstown, returned to Federal Street for the first time since 2019! This event took place April 23, 2022, and was a big hit among YSU students and the Youngstown community. After a long three years, the streets of Downtown were filled with people, activities, food, beer and music!
“The event was very well put together. There was truly something for everyone,” said YSU 2020 graduate and Pen Pro alum Morgan McGowan. “This event helped me discover some amazing local talent. It was the perfect way to spend my weekend in the sunshine! I’ll be back for this ‘can’t miss’ event every year.”
While we all know the event, who are the people behind it? Penguin Productions (also known as “Pen Pro”) is a student programming board made up of highly dedicated undergraduates, grad students and faculty; and they are responsible for some of YSU’s most well-known events. The committee works diligently throughout the year to bring students events like Fall Fire Fest and Federal Frenzy. This year, Penguin Productions was able to coordinate in-person events for YSU students and the greater Youngstown community that are entertaining and safe for all.
In 2020, Penguin Productions was in the midst of planning for the sixth annual Federal Frenzy when the world came to a halt. Members were devastated that the in-person event had to be canceled, but they still found creative ways to highlight local talent, businesses, and organizations through “Virtual Frenzy.” This online event consisted of Instagram Live interviews, Facebook live streams with local bands, and video shoutouts to vendors and food trucks.
By 2021, the committee was more prepared and adept at virtual events, so they took on a different approach to keep their event alive. With the help of local breweries, restaurants, bands and other student organizations,
Penguin Productions produced and released “Frenzy Vision.” This hour-long “TV” special was released to the public on Facebook and YouTube and continued to show off the talent and businesses within the Youngstown community.
This year, Penguin Productions felt that it was finally possible to host an in-person event for their fans and took extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of all attendees. Over 7,000 people attended this year’s event, and everyone can agree that it was great to be back in the streets of Downtown Youngstown.
With local artists, breweries, food trucks, vendors, and three outdoor stages, Federal Frenzy celebrated all that Youngstown has to offer.
The Bouncing Back Stage, sponsored by the Bouncing Back from COVID grant, featured bands from YSU students, faculty and alumni, as well as well-known local musicians. Some highlights from this stage included Chanelle Kazadi, Riley Burke, and The Super Babes.
The Summit Stage, sponsored by the Summit FM, highlighted regional artists like Candace Campana, The Shootouts, Black Wolf and the Thief, and J.D. Eicher.
Finally, the Main Stage showcased other popular local and regional musicians like the YSU Contemporary Ensemble, Where’s Winona Now?, Fifth and Aurora, Spirit of the Bear, and The Labra Brothers, who served as direct support for the National headliner.
HUNNY, the rock band from Newbury Park, California, closed out the night with a high-energy, 60-minute set that left the audience wanting more.
“I could not have imagined a better show,” said Pen Pro operations lead Joe Atkinson. “Being given the opportunity to work with a wonderful team of students and staff to put on an event of this size, and with the history it has, was a defining moment of my time at YSU.”
Overall, the return of Federal Frenzy was a massive success, and the event was enjoyed by all!