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Welcome to Corefest: Great vendors that deserve your support, music from local scene

Whether you want records from Spina Records or jewelry, the many vendors and the excellent vibes made Corefest the place to be at. – Photo by S P I N A R E C O R D S/ Instagram

Last Saturday, I went to Corefest 2022, the first 90.3 The Core concert since the pandemic shut everything down.

Despite the trials and tribulations of the past two years with the pandemic and one disastrous world event after the other, it's always nice to see how people can find ways to celebrate existence and community.

90.3 The Core transformed the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus' multipurpose room into a safe space for all those who love local music and the New Brunswick band scene.

This year, the performing bands were Screaming Females, valentines day and Toads.

Screaming Females, the New Brunswick punk rock band that has gained significant recognition in recent years, returned to its hometown to perform while valentines day, a queer and women of color band, shared its indie rock sound with the audience as well. Lastly, Toads describes its music as "sludge punk" and "gunk pink," and the group brought the crowd alive with its intense, vigorous performance.

But before the show began, I had a chance to walk around to visit the vendors. There was a great deal of variety and creativity among them with a little something for everyone. 

In addition to the performances, 90.3 The Core was selling its own merchandise including T-shirts, crewnecks, stickers, phone wallets and other goodies.

Among the other vendors was Spina Records, a New Brunswick record shop located on Easton Avenue. Attendees could peruse classic vinyl records from their favorite bands and artists at a great price.

rattatatz describes herself as "your local queer tattooist in LES NYC" on her Instagram. She was originally supposed to give attendees small tattoos, but due to Rutgers regulations, she was unable to. Despite this, rattatatz still came with plenty of samples of her talented and unique artwork which people could look at and admire — she's the one to go to for excellent ink.

Eva Finn, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, prominent member of the Demarest Hall community and jewelry creator, made me a beautiful pair of black and white line art earrings — which I love. At a great price, she creates wonderful pieces. Fellow Rutgers students: It's always great to support a colleague. 

Stacey Garcia makes "one-of-a-kind, hand-painted earrings on balsa wood," as said on Instagram. These earrings were little canvases for the ears, and they were created with care, love and dexterity. The colors are vibrant and the artwork is bold and unapologetic. For those who are curious, Garcia also does custom orders.

Finders Keepers boutique is a Weehawken, New Jersey-based retailer that upcycles clothing and accessories. If you are passionate about clean, sustainable fashion, then this boutique is definitely for you.

Jeff Cobbold is a multimedia artist who shared his talents with Corefest attendees. At his booth were CDs, vinyls and digital music. Check out his work on his Instagram to follow his latest musical endeavors.

Haley Potter has a distinct color-blocking and cartoony art style dedicated to capturing the passions of music. Her prints are vivacious and exciting. Every piece tells a story of the way music touches so many. 

Merna Ahmed, a Mason Gross School of the Arts senior, of Art by Merna had lovely prints that speak to social issues as well as pay tribute to this generation’s love of unapologetic expression. Ahmed's work is honest and lovely, and with her prints, you can be sure to brighten up even the dreariest of rooms with her popping, rosy aesthetic.

Native Ohr is a company that focuses on health and wellness. Through hand-crafted products that are organic, vegan and non-GMO, Native Ohr sells products that focus on hair, skin and gut health. The company use a unique ingredient called sea moss in its products. To learn more, check out the brand's Instagram page and its website.

The environment at Corefest was unifying and electric. There was so much joy in the room, and that joy speaks to the universal language of music. From the roses flying in the air to people jumping and dancing to their heart’s content, Corefest was the escapism Rutgers needed after a tumultuous midterm season.

But the most notable aspect of Corefest is its dedication to being an inclusive space for all.  

In The Core’s zine, General Manager Charlie Pecorella, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior, writes, “We must make room and make way for the many invaluable voices that have yet to be heard. The future and life-blood of D.I.Y. depends on making space for voices that you may not have heard from before. That is vitality.”


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