Camptown ’23 Features Student Band


Pleasant Discomfort performs at Camptown. From left: Paulo Matheny, Daniel Sugano, and Holden Trimmer. Photo by Rachel Halstead. 

Randolph-Macon College’s annual Camptown event returned for another year of fun, food, and music on April 21 and 22. This year’s Camptown concert featured a student band, Pleasant Discomfort, and a band from Charlottesville called Fresh Take. 

A version of Camptown has existed since 1952, when the town of Ashland began an annual horse race with the name. The event was popular among R-MC students up until it was discontinued in 1976. A YJ News contributor from that year wrote, “No longer does the term imply one festive weekend on campus, but it now involves a full week of parties, dances, banquets, and general inebriation, climaxed by the frenzied Saturday afternoon on the Manaheim farm.” In 1977, SGA took over the Camptown festivities in response to the horse races being canceled. 

This was the second Camptown celebration the College has enjoyed since the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled. 

“We were able to forget about our workload for a split second and just enjoy the music,” said Kelsey Henry ‘24, a political science major who attended the concert and carnival. 

Camptown is organized by the Common Activities Board (CAB) and the Office of Student Life. CAB’s President, Lily Chapman ‘23, says the concert was attended by 450 people. It was Pleasant Discomfort’s debut on campus. 

“Daniel Sugano, the lead singer of Pleasant Discomfort, is a cabbie [CAB employee]!” Chapman wrote.  “He was part of the planning for Camptown. We were trying to find an opener for our band and he mentioned his band and we worked it out for them to perform.”

Paulo Matheny ‘24 is the bassist for Pleasant Discomfort. “Now I’ve played on the same stage as Waka Flocka,” he said. 

This year’s event was disrupted by the weather, but Chapman still considers it a success. “Our goal for attendance for the carnival this year was 750 individuals. In years past we have had at least 1,000 but due to the weather changes, we wanted to decrease our goal a bit,” she said.  “We are still working on getting an estimate of attendance but I think we got close to our goal if we didn’t reach it.”

The carnival shut down at 1:00 on Saturday when a storm hit. “We had to protect the equipment so the CAB staff had to work in the rain trying to get things taken down and covered up,” Chapman shared. 

Despite several hiccups, including the inclement weather and CAB quickly running out of food truck tickets, this year’s event was another success. 

“Although it wasn’t as good as last year, I thoroughly enjoyed Camptown,” said Henry. “It is one of the main things I look forward to every year on this campus. It’s a time where all the students come together and just let loose and have fun.”

All photos by Rachel Halstead.