Fans camp outside for the Twenty One Pilots show at the Nationwide Arena
Heavy rain, wind, 55-degree temperatures, wet camp beds, and nighttime chills – it didn’t matter the conditions, though.
Nothing prevented Maliyah Rafail and Morgan Rupp fans from camping outside Nationwide Arena for a chance to be on hand for Twenty One Pilots.
The two sisters slept outside the arena gates, joining dozens of other fans in hopes they could land a spot on the stage for the second of the group’s three shows this week (the final performance will take place Saturday night).
Having slept on concrete and brick surfaces in recent years, Rupp, 26, said they were well prepared for any conditions to come.
“You learn as you go,” she said. “Before, we didn’t have cots; we bought them just for this gig because we thought it was a good idea.”
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No matter how much rain or wind blows through their ponchos, Rafail, 18, said it was worth enduring.
The two Pittsburgh-area natives were drawn to Twenty One Pilots as early as 2017. After agreeing to share the cost of the tickets, Rupp and Rafail made a spontaneous trip to Virginia.
Confined in nosebleed seats, Rupp and Rafail knew they would be heading to future performances, with Friday’s concert being their fifth time to see the duo live.
“We would just look at the seats on the floor and say to ourselves, ‘Yeah, we have to be there. “” said Rafail. “And since then we have been on the ground.”
Despite having seen Twenty One Pilots seven times, 19-year-old Aaliyah Harris said drummer Josh Dun and singer / multi-instrumentalist Tyler Joseph delivered electrifying performances every time.
She never camped out overnight, but Harris said her love for the band’s music grew as the band rose to acclaim from chart tops such as “Ride,” “Stressed. Out “,” Heathens “and others.
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Emma Fleenor said she fell in love with the group when she was in seventh grade.
“I feel like a lot of people are getting into it in college, especially during that time, they were creating a lot of relevant mental health content and a lot of people related to it,” she said.
In addition to the themes of the mental health group, Fleenor, 18, mentioned how Joseph is also outspoken about his faith in his music, which deepened his appreciation for the band.
First exposed to the group in eighth grade when a friend played “Doubt,” Emma Fury didn’t consider herself a fan until months later.
It wasn’t until she tapped into the band’s online fan base that her healthy obsession began. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other platforms, fans around the world are expressing their appreciation for the band’s music and how it aligns with their shared life experiences, Fury said.
“Everyone has similar experiences and they’re all related, and we all love this music and we come together for these shows and celebrate,” she said.
With the group rooted in the capital, Fury, a 19-year-old Columbus native, said the anticipation was even greater.
“This community lines up as early as possible, especially for the hometown shows,” she said. “It’s even crazier. It’s on another level.”
Fury said the sentiment was magnified given the group’s ties to Columbus.
Even with Twenty One Pilots reaching unpredictable heights, the duo have always maintained a strong connection to their hometown, she said.
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“It’s crazy to stop and think this huge group is from here,” Fury said. “The places you go to, they’ve been to. Like the places you go to for other artists, they’ve performed in those places and they’ve worked really hard to get to where they are.”
Before anything else surrounding the concert series, Fleenor said she was happy to see the fans helping each other and the trust shared between them.
“I really love this fan base,” she said, “and I’m really proud of us for having that sense of community.”