With a 45-foot tall stage, giant video screens, music, lights and paint, Dayglow transformed the normally unadorned Field House into a hedonistic paradise on Wednesday night.
Billed as “the world’s largest paint party,” the buzz surrounding Dayglow prompted ticketholders to line up hours before the doors opened at about 7:30 p.m. Near the line were a fleet of porta-potties and 200 pizzas for those waiting.
Partygoers were out in full force, the men primarily wearing white T-shirts and shorts while many women were scantily clad. Many were equipped with glow sticks, goggles and, for one man, a strange, colorful suit with a fake, lit-up butterfly perched on his shoulders on poles about 10 feet high.
Everybody was ready for an unforgettable night: People were heard saying things like “I should text her, ‘Where are you? Get over here and grind with me or something,’” “You don’t have a light, do you? I managed to sneak in two doobers, right here” and “There are about 4 sober people here right now.”
Outside, the scene was at times chaotic. Around 9:30 p.m., a University of Maine police officer was seen chasing two males from the Dunn Hall parking lot and between Dunn and Corbett halls. He walked back toward the Field House huffing and puffing. They got away.
“We just had a guy cold-cock someone,” said University of Maine Police Chief Roland LaCroix, explaining the reason for the chase. “He got away.”
The man who had been punched laid in front of closed Field House bay doors. Personnel from the University Volunteer Ambulance Corps picked him up on a stretcher and whisked him through the building. The mall side of the Field House was where UVAC, Orono, Old Town and Bangor ambulances picked up attendees for transport. LaCroix said on Thursday that his department is investigating the assault.
“There were two arrests, both for criminal trespass, both nonstudents,” LaCroix said Thursday morning, adding there had been 16 medical transports from the Field House and “another 60 or 65 treated and released [for] real minor stuff.”
Dillon Hough, 20, of Yarmouth and Brandon Bell-Colfer of Farmingdale were arrested for criminal trespass in separate incidents at the Field House, LaCroix said. Further information about the two arrests was not immediately available.
Paul O’Connor, a physician assistant on duty Wednesday night into Thursday morning at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, said staff there were “just short of calling [Dayglow] a disaster.”
By 10 p.m., O’Connor said nine college-aged people arrived at the hospital. Between 12 and 14 showed up by night’s end, “all underage, all heavily intoxicated,” with blood alcohol content ranging from .30 to .35, around four times the legal limit for those over the drinking age.
He said with three staffers treating patients and between 22 and 25 open emergency room beds, the hospital was cramped for space when new arrivals came.
“We had a full waiting room. We had traumas and the typical stuff we see anyway. You add 14 people,” O’Connor said. “Now, they’re vomiting on the floor everywhere, so we’re cleaning that up.”
LaCroix corroborated the urgent situation early into the concert.
“I think I heard at one time we were using eight ambulances,” he continued. “It was busy in the first hour and a half or so,” before the level of activity began to taper off.
“You have people starting to leave and everything, and maybe the energy tapers off at the end,” LaCroix said.
The police chief described attendees as energetic and excited.
“It wasn’t anything different from any other sort of concert,” LaCroix said. “The biggest difference between this one and any other since I’ve been here was the UVAC response.”
Some of the shenanigans outside were more innocent: Men who couldn’t find convenient toilets could be seen urinating on the Corbett Hall side of the building. Groups of young women shouted “YOLO,” short for “you only live once.” One man, a lady friend on his arm, called his roommate.
“I need the room tonight,” he said, “for a while.”
One particularly memorable girl talked sincerely to a friend, walking away from the Field House.
“I got peed on tonight,” she said.
As the bass-heavy dance music filled the large room so people filled the venue. Tickets were being sold at the door and Vice President of Student Entertainment Joseph “Pat” Nabozny said he believed they sold out. On Thursday morning, he clarified that to mean 2,850 tickets.
“We were at the building’s maximum occupancy,” he said, adding that the number of medical transportations was “unfortunate.”
“I feel like [on] Maine Day, there are a lot of kids consuming alcohol all day,” Nabozny said. “I don’t believe all the transportations occurred simply because of Dayglow.”
One drawback to the event, Nabozny said, was that Dayglow did not bring the VIP bags promised to attendees who purchased a higher-tier ticket for the event. He said a conference call was scheduled for later on Thursday to orchestrate a way for those bags to be delivered.
Since music was playing from the first moment ticketholders walked in, it was hard to say when the show started, but the volume and intensity of the show picked up at about 8:30 p.m. when the “Dayglow Countdown” was displayed on the video screens. The clock started at one hour and counted down to the first “paint blast,” when large quantities of paint and confetti were sprayed into the crowd.
Smaller bottles of paint were distributed to the crowd throughout the night, for attendees to splash on people at their own discretion. Few were left free of paint, and few were left without a partner to dance with provocatively.
Deejaying was LA Riots, a duo from Los Angeles who, according to their MySpace page, “are in the business of crafting straight-up, hot-as-shit club bangers and they’re not messing around.” They played a combination of originals and remixes of popular songs by Adele, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gotye and others.
At around 11:30 p.m., after an encore song was played, the show wrapped itself up with the DJs thanking the crowd for their hospitality and asking if they wanted Dayglow to return next year.
That question received an enthusiastic response.
Style Editor Derrick Rossignol was among the masses at Dayglow. Editor in Chief Michael Shepherd observed from outside. This story was updated Thursday by News Editor Beth Kevit and Shepherd.
More photos from the event can be seen at The Maine Campus’ Facebook page.