Hotel Fiction headlines energetic Friday night at AthFest | Athefest

The Athens-based band Hotel Fiction, led by University of Georgia graduates Jade Long and Jessica Thompson, headlined a humid Friday night for the first AthFest since 2019.

The duo began a little after 9 pm, following a sound check, to a large crowd of roughly 1,000 attendees. Many participants in the festival migrated from other areas and emerged from surrounding restaurants and bars to watch the highly anticipated performance.

Reagan Jones, a 24-year-old attendee originally from Georgia who currently resides in Los Angeles, expressed his excitement for the event.

“I’m a big fan of theirs,” Jones said. “I went to UGA a few years back and I had some mutual friends who listened to the band, and I was very impressed, they are great songs.” Jones described the duo’s music as “an indie pop sound with slight country – influenced by Kacey Musgraves.”

Another attendee — 23-year-old Cody Workman who also hails from Georgia but currently lives out-of-state — shared a similar love for the band.

“I’ve heard nothing but great things. I’m really excited, this will be my first time seeing them,” Workman said.

At the start of the show, Long welcomed the crowd and displayed enthusiasm for playing in her college town where the band began. “We’ve never played to a crowd this big, ever,” Long said to an eager and excited crowd.

As the band opened their show and drifted between songs, the crowd matched the energy and tempo perfectly, jumping and swaying in unison.

Beginning with softer alternative driven songs like “Golden Days”, the crowd sang back and swayed to the rhythm. The energy picked up as songs like “Think Twice” played with a faster rhythm and an electric guitar solo that energized the crowd, as they danced and loudly sang along.

Around halfway through the performance, Long announced that a portion of their merchandise sales would go towards abortion funds, in protest of the landmark decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade that same day. The crowd reacted wildly to the news and yelled at their support.

Long dedicated the next song to the Supreme Court of the United States. The song held spunky and almost bitter lyrics that demanded attention. The crowd displayed the most energy it had the whole night, clapping and cheering along.

The duo then followed the fast, emotional song with a slower, warmer one titled “Out of My Head” which carried a calming effect on the lively crowd who crooned along.

The encore was a cover of “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers, which brought out a final rush of energy and excitement before the band snapped a quick selfie with the audience and gave a final goodbye at just after 10 pm

Catherine Campbell, a senior ecology major, said she appreciated the mention of the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the bands’ efforts to raise money for abortion funds.

“It does feel kind of wrong to be celebrating and having fun when there is that daunting and horrible decision for women in general,” Campbell said. “Donating some money right now is super important.”

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