Fake Fest 2013
Student creates buzz with phony Fall Fest posters around campus
Kate Rittenhouse-Olson, Ph.D., has mentored many students into the careers of their dreams. Troi Williams /// The Spectrum
What impact can 20 pieces of paper have on an entire college campus?
Christopher Riddick knows.
The $1.60 charge on his print queue seems a small price to pay for the attention his fake Fall Fest posters garnered on campus Monday. The Student Association has confirmed that the Fall Fest lineup as Riddick listed it (A$AP Rocky, Drake and Big Sean) will not be the lineup for the Oct. 13 concert.
It all started when Riddick woke up on Sunday with nothing to do.
"I mostly did it because I was bored," Riddick said. "I felt like it'd be interesting to see if people would believe it. Also, [SA] is taking way too long to announce [the lineup], so I thought maybe if I did this, they would get somebody better than whoever they are gonna get."
Riddick and his roommate, Winger Ruiz, both sophomore undecided majors, spent Sunday morning in their Red Jacket dorm plotting the prank, piecing together a lineup they felt would seem believable, yet almost too good to be true.
Artists they considered included Jadakiss, Pusha T, Fabolous and other big-name hip-hop acts. At first, Riddick was choosing names he liked or thought would be funny, but then he began to realize that a perfectly compiled list could actually trick a lot of people into thinking his posters were real.
Riddick took point on the operation and Ruiz tagged along every step of the way.
In just one hour, Riddick was able to find an online program that would allow him to design, and complete, a poster that he modeled after last year's official Fall Fest flyer, which he found using Google.
He then accidentally deleted his original copy, but it only took an extra 10 minutes to completely finish the one he ended up posting around campus.
Riddick headed to Capen Library with his design and printed 20 copies. He meant to print 40, but he did not realize they would come out double-sided. Undeterred, he made his way from Capen to the Student Union, hitting every bulletin board along the way.
By midnight Monday morning, Riddick's deed was done, and he went home anxious to see what kind of impression his posters would leave the following day. On his walk to class the next morning, he was shocked to see that all of his posters had been taken down.
Hours before Riddick was even awake to watch his plot unravel, SA Vice President Lyle Selsky received a photo message of the poster from one of his fraternity brothers. Amidst his shock and rage, Selsky rushed to form a crew of SA members to take the posters down immediately.
Selsky knew the posters created expectations that SA cannot meet, and many of his SA coworkers were enraged by the prank. Worried that the hype from a "too good to be true" lineup would only lead to disappointment when the real lineup was announced, they managed to take down the posters less than 12 hours after they were posted, but the damage was done.
"It will disappoint students if that's not what [the lineup] is," Selsky said. "We want to make sure we put out the truth and give students what they need instead of putting up fake documents."
Rumors surrounding A$AP coming to Fall Fest had been circling for weeks already, and Riddick's posters only added fuel to the fire. Twitter exploded with excitement and praise that SA had managed to pull off such an impressive lineup.
Most of the hype circled around Drake, whom Riddick added to his list after remembering a UB Rumors tweet he saw months ago stating Drake would be performing at Fall Fest. A few clever students immediately called the chance of Drake performing at UB into question due to the high demand and price for his act along with a conflicting tour schedule already listed for the fall, but many thought the posters were real.
"I thought it was awesome - I believed it," said junior biology major Laith Al-Najjar. "Drake's my boy."
Before long, Riddick's gig was up and the truth spread via Twitter and an official statement on the SA Facebook page, warning students that the posters were fake. Many took the joke well, finding it impressive and funny, but some who originally tweeted with joy for the coming of Drake cursed the prankster who ruined their Fall Fest dreams.
Some tweets included:
"if drake isn't coming for fall fest whoever made those flyers is gonna be the most hated person at UB"
"Whoever thought it would be funny to joke around about Drake coming to UB for fall fest was very wrong #pissed"
Riddick said the only negative feedback he saw was brought on after the truth about Drake came out.
"We just made the rumors that were already going around public," Ruiz said. "We weren't stopping anything that wasn't already going on. SA was just taking too long."
Riddick added he was partially inspired to carry out his prank because he finds it hard to feel noticed on such a large campus with so many students. He saw an opportunity to get people talking and laughing all while getting some form of recognition and questioning SA's hold up on releasing the true lineup for Fall Fest in the process.
He admitted that his goal was to see if he could pull it off and trick people, but never to completely ruin anyone's hopes or SA's work toward getting the concert put together.
"If [SA] feels like I really almost ruined their chances of putting on a good show, I apologize," Riddick said. "If I almost ruined it, does that mean they know [Fall Fest] isn't going to be that good? I apologize, but it's not that big of a deal."
SA remains unsure if it can or will take legal action against Riddick and Ruiz for falsely advertising under their name.With his name being published for everyone to know, Riddick is waiting to see how people will react toward him now that he's not just another face in the crowd.
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