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First-ever Moody X-Fest follows Moody Foundation gift

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Osvaldo Salgado / Thresher

By Morike Ayodeji     4/12/23 12:35am

Rice’s first-ever Moody X-Fest took place on April 7, featuring a GROUPLOVE concert, student performances, brief keynote speakers, complimentary food vendors and Moody Experience-branded merchandise. 

Several attendees said they felt positively about the event and hope to see more in the future. The student and headliner performances were an event favorite for Hanszen College junior Yuka Aoyama.

“My favorite part of the Moody X-Fest was definitely the concert. I’ve always wanted an artist to come to Rice so we could go to a concert for free,” Aoyama said. 



For Duncan College senior Karen Murambadoro, seeing GROUPLOVE was an exciting experience.

“It was definitely cool that Rice brought someone that a lot of people knew of,” Murambadoro said. “Even if you didn’t know all of their songs, people knew ‘Tongue Tied.’ It was something that people could get excited about.”


Teddy Gilman, a member of the Rice Philharmonics, said he was pleasantly surprised by the Moody X-Fest as a performer and audience member.

“People looked like they were having a really good time. I had a really good time as an attendee, and I also thought it was really cool as a performer,” Gilman, a McMurtry College junior, said. “It’s a setting we don’t really get to perform in very much.” 

Murambadoro said this was a good way to get a large number of Rice students to appreciate performing student groups.

“If [Rice] continues to bring in an outside act but still showcases student groups, it brings a lot of purpose to the event. You’re not just going to a concert, but you’re also supporting your fellow students,” Murambadoro said. “I really liked the event including Oh My Gogi and True Dog, which are quintessential to the Rice experience.” 

The event planners said they expected about 750-1,000 students to attend, and were thrilled that approximately 1,500 students participated in some portion of the event. According to the President Reggie DesRoches, Moody X-Fest will be held every year.

“Moody X will be annual, coinciding with other showcases that celebrate student talent and experiences, and will most likely transition to a different planning structure involving even more students, because they are at the heart of the Moody Experience,” DesRoches wrote in an email to the Thresher. 

Students said that having on-campus concerts with outside performers was something Rice lacked in comparison to other institutions. 

“I know other colleges have more events like this where they bring in outside acts and they have festival-type things,” Murambadoro said. “I think it was nice to have a comparable experience in that sense. It is definitely a change of pace of things we’ve had from year to year.”

Event attendees felt that the speeches by DesRoches, Graduate Student President Dhiraj Jain and Moody Foundation Trustee Elizabeth Moody (’14) added a special sentiment to the event. Student Association President Solomon Ni said he is excited about the Moody Foundation’s contribution.

“I think it was great to hear from President DesRoches, Elle Moody, and the GSA President Dhiraj,” Ni, a Jones College sophomore, said. “Certainly this gift of $100 million, a portion of which will be going to the new student center, will be greatly beneficial for the Rice student experience beyond the Moody X-Fest. I know [Rice Administration] wants to make a credible commitment to supporting the student experience.”

Aoyama said the involvement of graduate students was another notable aspect of the festival.

“It’s nice that we also invited the [graduate] students and were more inclusive. I can only think of Beer Bike and the Moody X-Fest that we’ve interacted with grad students,” Aoyama said. 

However, there were aspects of Moody X-Fest that some students felt could be improved. The event took place at Tudor Fieldhouse, in lieu of the central quad, due to the inclement weather. Both Aoyama and Gilman said that while moving the Moody X-Fest inside made it really crowded and disorganized, organizers still did a good job making Tudor exciting.

“I knew it was going to be a disaster logistically with how many people were going to be there with lines, but [it] wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” Gilman said.

Murambadoro said that the Moody X-Fest successfully showcased student groups and the student experience.

“I think the goal that they had with Moody X-Fest was just to get people excited about putting money into extracurricular events at Rice, just investing in the students and the student experience,” Murambadoro said. “I think they captured that really well with Moody X-Fest.”



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