As a freak storm — sandwiched between 90-plus degree weather — hit Fresno Friday, the fate of the 40th Vintage Days was up in the air. The few who chose to brave the storm to attend the yearly festival hid under umbrellas and dodged puddles that were only getting deeper
Thursday night’s forecast reported that there was a 50 percent chance of rain by 11 a.m., but the grounds were drenched by 9 a.m.
By noon, electrical engineers setting up the concert stage called it a day, wrapping the audio equipment in tarps to try again Saturday. For the 11 bands ready to play the festival, their concerts were canceled.
Vintage Days’ concerts, which have been part of the events fabric since its foundation 40 years ago, were in jeopardy. That’s when things went into overdrive for a few performers and planners.
When Ethan Castro, a local DJ who performs under the name ENRG, found out about the cancellation, he was distraught.
“We were performing my electronic songs live, so I had a full band of people,” he said. “All of the acts that day were suddenly canceled, and it crushed my heart. I could only imagine what [the other acts set to perform] were feeling like.”
For Castro, it turned out to be an opportunity. Seeing that many of the acts were still ready to play, he tried to find another place to perform, even though no school facilities would be available on such short notice.
After calling several local off-campus venues, Full Cirlce Co. in Fulton Mall was the best available location for the event. But moving the concerts off-campus meant they would no longer technically be a part of Vintage Days.
The show would go on.
“Even though it was hailing, thunderstorming and no one knew about this but for three hours before hand, we had people come out to this place that virtually nobody knows and support us,” Castro said.
“Saturday, it was still a bit of a chilly morning, so there wasn’t as many people,” said Ivana Tjheu, a Vintage Days student concerts coordinator. “But as time went on and the sun began picking up, by noon there were a lot of people over here.”
To the merriment of Vintage Days attendees and organizers, the sky cleared up by noon Saturday, bathing the campus in sunny mid-to-low-70-degree weather. The festival was back to normal. Clubs and Greek organizations were selling food; vendors displayed products; and the music was once again echoed throughout campus.
That included the most anticipated musical act of the festival, The Wild Blue, a 1970’s progressive rock band that played at the first Vintage Days 40 years ago.
“It was crazy. They’ve still got it,” Tjheu said.
The performance was packed with Fresno State alumni, she said.
Fresno State clubs and organizations sold food products from across many cultures, ranging from pulled-pork to boba.
At 5:20 p.m. on Sunday, vendors made their last calls for sales, wrapping up the 40th Vintage Days that saw tens of thousands come to the university’s campus — a year of planning and implementation by students to put the festival together.