“I did the classic Wikipedia stalk and saw that he was from Chapel Hill,” he said. Inspired by the coincidence, Berry began to brainstorm how to awaken the EDM scene in Chapel Hill.
On Sept. 10, Berry created a Facebook event titled in all-caps “Get Porter Robinson to UNC Homecoming.” Six days later, the page has more than 700 likes in support of organizing a concert for the internationally renowned DJ.
Although Berry knows the Carolina Union Activities Board announced at the beginning of the month that there will not be homecoming concerts this fall, he is using his movement to show CUAB that students are interested in more than just hip-hop.
“CUAB did a good job bringing artists freshman and sophomore year, but they were both rap artists,” he said.
CUAB Vice President of Outreach Boateng Kubi and Vice President of Programming Jesus Barreto said they had no intention of sponsoring a homecoming concert, either through CUAB or through Berry.
Berry expressed concerns about the logistics of bringing Robinson to UNC, but he remains positive about the possibility of bringing other EDM artists in the future and creating a movement for the genre on campus.
“I know we deserve it, because we’re cool people,” he said.
Berry has definitely seen a lot of support behind his statement. A self-described fan and one of the Facebook event’s followers, sophomore Phil Locklear joined the group because he knows feedback is important to CUAB.
“I felt that by just joining the event, I could show my interest of getting Porter here and the CUAB might eventually notice,” he said in an email.
Support like Locklear’s fuels Berry’s initiative and his belief that people are willing to step out of their comfort zone.
Porter Robinson has played at festivals like Ultra Music, Electric Zoo and South by Southwest. Berry said the Triangle isn’t the best place for EDM and certainly does not provide the best platform for Porter Robinson’s music; he wondered if such a big name would ever venture back to put on a student concert.
Chris Batchelder, a UNC graduate and a record producer in New York, reached out to Berry after hearing about the Facebook page. When Batchelder was at UNC, he also worked to bring Porter Robinson to Chapel Hill but couldn’t make it happen for financial reasons. This time, Batchelder was involved in a supporting role, giving Porter’s management contact information to Berry.
Berry doesn’t know what the future will bring, but he’s glad he can bring together students with an interest in EDM.
“Regardless if we get him to come, I think we’ve shown what people can do when they’re interested in something.”