The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Matt Bennett brings nostalgia to Pantherchella

Cam’ron Hardy
The crowd jumps in excitement over Matt Bennet in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union Grand Ballroom on Saturday.

Students waited in line for hours to see the show Matt Bennett, actor known for his role as Robbie Shapiro on the show “Victorious,” had in store for them Saturday night. 

Lupita Navarrete, a freshman elementary education major, was the first in line waiting for the show. The doors opened at 7 p.m., but Navarrete created a line around 5 p.m. 

Navarrete and her five siblings all watched Victorious together growing up. Prior to the event, she said she looked forward to listening to all of her favorite childhood songs again. 

She was also able to take a photo with Bennett prior to the event starting. 

Opener DJ Constantine started the night with some nostalgic songs from TV shows and movies like “High School Musical.” 

After about an hour, the man of the hour Matt Bennett rushed to the stage and was bombarded with screams of excitement from the over 700 people in attendance. 

Bennett’s energy was high throughout the night. His stage presence captivated the attention of those that came out, playing a plethora of songs from the 2010s.

At the beginning of the concert, Bennett said he was going to give a coconut away to the person who had the most energy throughout the night. 

The act was in reference to Bennett’s character’s teacher on Victorious, Erwin Sikowitz– played by Eric Lange. Sikowitz would drink out of coconuts during class. 

Abbey Vollmer, a senior communication disorders science major, was given the coconut at the end of the night. 

Vollmer was very proud of her accomplishment. Vollmer came out with a group of friends, and said that they had fun dancing together at Bennett’s show. 

“I really liked his stage presence and just how he was as a person,” Vollmer said. 

She said that since she is a part of a sorority, she was happy to be able to go out with people in different age groups and have a good time together.  

She also thanked the university board, the organization that put the event together. 

Kristal Munoz, a senior criminology/criminal justice major, is the chair of Eastern’s university board. 

Munoz said the entire process to bring Bennett to Eastern took about two months. 

The process started when the board put out a poll on social media asking what students wanted to see, and university board members noticed that students wanted more of a musical aspect. 

After receiving that feedback, they looked into finding an artist that would cater to all audiences, Munoz said. 

“It goes from step one of just finding interest, to making contracts, calling vendors, making sure we have production and everything that [satisfies] the concert that we’re trying to achieve,” Munoz said. 

With the help of the student life center on campus, they were able to contact vendors. Student organizations ranked who they would want to see, and Party 101, the name of Bennett’s tour, ranked first among the student organizations.

“And from there, it was really pedal to the metal because we figured that he was going to have a break period in his tour schedule,” Munoz said. “He’s coming from Chicago down to Indianapolis, and that’s right on track for us over the four days.” 

After making sure everything was coordinated, Bennett was on his way to Eastern. 

Munoz said it usually takes four to six months to book a concert, but with urgency and help, they were able to accomplish the task in two months. 

Aside from working at the event, Munoz said that she enjoyed seeing all of the students smiling and interacting. 

This was the first time since 2020 that Eastern has had a concert, Munoz said. Being a part of the process was motivating for her, she said. 

“[It’s] really like one of my proudest moments here on university board,” Munoz said. “I’ve been a part of the board for almost three years now, and I didn’t get to experience a concert here.” 

After the concert, Bennett signed autographs and took photos with fans. 

Audience member Taylor Moralde was one of the people that took a photo and received an autograph from Bennett. 

“It’s like a crazy feeling. That’s my childhood,” Moralde said. “I never expected that. That’s like a once in a lifetime experience. So it was pretty crazy.” 


Cam’ron Hardy can be reached 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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Cam’ron Hardy
Cam’ron Hardy, News Editor
Cam'ron is a junior journalism major. He previously served news editor and campus editor at The News. 

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