James Madison University Springfest 2010 = Real life Call of Duty?

Alright, first things first, I usually don’t like blogging about daily things that happen in my life because I feel that’s an older generation of blogging with the whole “So, today I did this and it was good…” type stuff (word to Xanga, y’all remember that?) and because no one wants to read about someone else’s life. However, what I did this weekend was wild and extreme enough that I definitely need to blog about it and tell the switch. readers what happened.

So, I’ve heard legends and stories about JMU’s “Springfest/Block Party” over the years in which it’s just a big party with thousands of drunk people from all over the place just doing wild things. I’ve heard it was better than Quadfest and even Foxfields. I had to see what the fuss was all about. I do warn you, however, this post is long but there are cliffnotes at the end.

I got there with my boys (shouts to Justin, Vick, Sunan, and Paul!) around 4:30 on Friday and we started immediately with a couple of drinks and other things (some sort of plant), so it was bound to be a good night. I was told that Saturday morning/afternoon was the biggest part of the weekend, but it was whatever because I was just gonna go with the flow and have a good time. The first afternoon/night was like college parties at night but a little bigger, and during the day. I mean I know UVA has their share of day parties with philanthropies, but Friday afternoon was just a strip of townhouses and apartments just flooding with people and stuff. I ended up passing out that night around 3-4 AM. I’d say it was a great night. I ran into a lot of UVA folk and people from home, it was a lot of fun. However, the next day was a little wilder.

I wake up in the morning and I’m definitely feeling a little dead. However, a little wake and bake never hurt me and following so, we hit up some food to start the day. Side note, the food at JMU destroys our UVA food. We get to the “block party” at the apartment/townhouses strip and by the time it got really poppin’ in the afternoon there were reportedly 8000+ people. You know, with 8000+ drunk people, something’s bound to happen. What ensued was some stuff of epic proportions. My friends and I said it best when we said that the scene was like a real life Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto (I guess JMU had a wanted level of five stars, ‘cus six stars would’ve meant tanks!).

People were getting rowdier and rowdier and not any less belligerent. I was just chillin’ and enjoying the atmosphere with a couple of drinks and L’s; I saw a couple of fights break out here and there, but it was just a noisy party atmosphere. The cops eventually showed up to control things so they were just around the boundaries of the whole area.  Of course, college kids hate cops. And cops hate college kids. There were lots of obscenities yelled at the cops (word to NWA) and things began to fly. Bottles, cans, whatever. Cops couldn’t handle it, they needed back up. What do they do? SWAT team in the house!

Now I hate the riot shield in Call of Duty because it doesn’t really do much, but these cops were using them like it was their favorite. No melee attacks were thrown though, they were used more as a means of protection from flying bottles and cans. People were chucking up the most random things at the cops, including fences, signs, whatever they could throw. Every five or so minutes the cops would try to close in a little on the group. After awhile, people were burning dumpsters and dancing on cars and just being damn rowdy. It was literally a riot with people messing with cops and being belligerent. The cops at that point had enough.

I was with my girl from home when the wild stuff started happening. We were walking around outside congregating with some friends and she got a call saying that we should get out because SWAT and cops were going to move in or whatever. We kind of ignored it because one, we already saw the cops and they weren’t doing too much, and two, we were a little out of the right state of mind. However, a few minutes later we hear a sound like something popped and we saw an object fly in the air. As soon as it landed, gas started to emit from the ground. It was TEAR GAS! What followed that first tear gas shot was wild. I was pretty far away, so I didn’t get hurt by the gas initially but what I remember seeing was like a scene from a zombie movie where thousands of people are trying to escape a pack of deadly zombies. People were just running in different directions trying to get away from the cops.

But the party didn’t stop there! We just kept moving down the strip and partying a little more until more tear gas came and people were getting pepper sprayed and maced and arrested if they weren’t cooperating. Eventually, a tear gas bomb fell close to my friends and I and let me tell you, never get hit by one of those damn things. It felt like my face was about to rip off and my eyes were closed shut. It was pain. However, I just went inside and let it cool off and continued to drink inside until things cooled down.

Eventually, when it got to night time, people cleared the general area and road blocks were set up. I moved my partying to other places (and so did everyone else) around the campus, but the “block party” had been destroyed. For the rest of the night, we just reminisced on what happened and the day after I arrived safely back at UVA.

All in all, JMU was a wild time. I was definitely not expecting a riot by all means, but hey, it made it that much more memorable. If you haven’t been to JMU Springfest, I highly suggest going (if they decide to have it again) but definitely don’t get tear gassed or arrested.

Cliffnotes of the story: JMU Springfest, drinking, crazy people, riots, tear gas, fun.

Signing out,

Chuck Z


About chuckzhao

"Stern, firm, and young with a laid-back tongue, the aim is to succeed and achieve at 21."
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