Set Friday, formerly known as Flea Market Day, began at FAMU in the early ’80s and earned its name by the various vendors that would set up shop near the student union. According to Lynette Boatner, Volunteer Services Program Coordinator,
"Set Friday was a name the students came up with, they began calling it Set Friday around the early ’90s,” said Boater.
Over the past 30 years Set Friday has varied in time and location. Taking place almost every Friday of the school year, the set is now located on the brick road in front of the Efferson Student Union & Activities office located at 1628 S. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
DJ Loosekid, FAMU’s official DJ, began DJing on The Set in 2009 and believes the culture has changed during the past nine years.
“It’s definitely a different culture, nothing bad about the culture but I was there for the time when the Marching 100 wasn’t on the hill. So, it’s a different culture when students come in, they don’t really know the sounds of the band as far as that real culture of the Marching 100,” he said. “I filled the void in between the time we didn’t have a band but now that we have our band back, I think we are getting back to our customs and culture of the hill.”
The resident DJ is sure that Set Friday brings out a party vibe, but uncontrollable factors can contribute to attendance.
“When the street is actually filled, we definitely have a good time. But weather also plays a big part. As far as fall, it’s a little tough but as soon as we get to spring that’s when everybody pops back out, everybody’s fresh, and they want to be seen,” said Loosekid.
Even with a DJ, some students simply do not desire to attend the set. Nija Jones, a second-year bio-premed student, doesn’t feel there is a point in going to Set Friday.
“I’ve been to Set Friday, but not as often because I don’t really see a point after a certain period. Compared to what my dad tells me about how Set Friday used to be, it’s not as intriguing I would say as it used to be. I feel like there should be more festivities going on for every particular crowd,” said Jones.
“The only time I feel like I’m missing something from not going to Set Friday is during homecoming. Other than that, not really. I see the same crowd,” Jones added.
Castillo Mitchell, a senior psychology student and creator of the brand “FlexMyComplexion,” has been a vendor at Set Friday since fall of 2016.
“I really feel like there has been a decline. I used to visit Set Friday even when I wasn’t here as a vendor and one thing I can say is there is a difference … The Set was live 24/7 and now it’s like a culture shift. The freshmen coming in now say everything is too far. I feel like The Village is not in a central location and some people feel it is too far of a walk. So, making the set more accessible may be a problem for them,” said Mitchell.
Despite what seems to be a decline in attendance, Mitchell plans to continue attending Set Friday and feels it is a tradition that all students should take part in at some point during their time at FAMU.
“Set Friday is about celebrating FAMU, like it’s a part of the culture. My mama did Set Friday, this is what they did so I think that it’s imperative that we keep it going,” said Mitchell.
“I will still keep coming out here because I love the experience, I love FAMU. FAMU has been the best thing that ever happened to me. Coming out here to Set Friday is not just about me making money or me selling shirts,” Mitchell said. “It’s about the experience.”
According to Boatner, based on the crowded streets on Fridays, Set Friday is still relevant to many students at FAMU. However, she also encourages students to visit the Office of Student Activities if they are interested in other aspects of campus life.
"This is why the set has lasted so long, because it is a part of the students’ culture, it’s tradition," Boatner said.