Three different bands performed at noon at Tommy Trojan from Tuesday through Thursday as part of a concert series dubbed Launchfest. The event culminates in a larger mystery concert Friday.
All artists performed Christian music, as the shows were put together by the United House of Prayer, an underground Christian student organization on campus known for its worship gatherings.
Organizers said the purpose of Launchfest is to bring Christianity — and more generally, a love of God — to others through music.
Jackie Son, a junior majoring in communication and a member of UHOP, led the event. She explained that several different student organizations came together to launch the event.
“We just had the idea that music brings people together because music is such a huge part of everybody’s life,” Son said. “We just want to impact the USC community in a good, powerful way with music.”
The team of six young adults, who are unaffiliated with USC, aims to bring different Christian artists to various campuses, with UCLA next on the list.
Nick Brennt, a member of the Launchfest team, explained the religious background of the event is a crucial facet.
“The biggest thing we’re trying to communicate with the music festival … is that when kids would think of God, whether they believe in God or not, is that ‘God loves me, He’s not angry … He’s actually full of love and enjoys having fun and wants everyone to be happy,” Brennt said.
The bands who played at Launchfest were mostly found through friends of friends, according to organizers. The bands’ names were not released until the time of the performance in order to build anticipation.
Though the featured bands had similar missions, they all had different sounds: Tuesday’s Charles Jones showed off his soulful, gospel voice, Wednesday’s J. Thoven provided a more laid back, indie-folk vibe and Thursday’s The F M L Y B N D introduced a newer, more electronic sound.
“We’re all Christian dudes playing to non-Christian people, and trying to win them to Christ just through being human … and I think [college students] are the market that we have to be reaching out to,” said Jake Pappas, a band member of J. Thoven.
Though the Christian mission behind the event was not heavily publicized, the shows garnered wide support on campus. The feedback was mostly positive. More than 1,000 people RSVPed on the Facebook event and the crowd size at Tommy Trojan reached 400 people in midday heat for the individual artists.
“This definitely breaks down the barrier of what people think of when they think about Christian music; you [usually] think of something kind of cheesy, but this is very relevant,” said Megan Mullis, a senior majoring in business administration. Launchfest’s last and largest concert will take place Friday at 7:30 p.m. on McCarthy Quad and will feature a performance from a mystery guest. Short clips of previous performances can be found on YouTube.
UHOP intends to set more frequent, smaller showcases similar to Launchfest to continue spreading its message.