The Social Committee (SC) of the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) has announced the finalized artist lineup for Spring Fling 2004. Ghostface Killah, a.k.a. the Ironman Tony Starks, is confirmed to headline the event next week. He will be preceded by Soulive, ESG and the Wesleyan band Monsters of Rock.
“One of the debates in choosing artists is always, do we go for a huge name, or do we try and get a couple of good bands,” said Maris Yanow ’04, Treasurer of the SC. “When the opportunity to get both Ghostface and Soulive came up we realized they would be a diverse and really fun show.”
Ghostface Killah is one of the original members of the Wu Tang Clan, and recently released a well-received new album on April 20 called “The Pretty Toney Album.”
“I think it’s arguable that he’s the best MC in the Wu Tang Clan,” said Tatiana Weise ’04, chair of the SC.
Soulive is a funk-soul fusion trio from the East Coast. The group also has jam-band leanings and has done many collaborations with hip-hop artists.
“One thing we always try and think about is that Spring Fling is a show, it’s not just a couple of musical acts,” Weise said. “Of course you could get some huge name for $45,000, but then it’s just one act. People will have only had two beers and they’ll have to go home.”
Weise confirmed the rumor that the SC was considering Wyclef Jean, but said that since he would have taken up almost their entire talent budget, they were unable to continue pursuing him.
ESG, or Emerald Sapphire and Gold, is a minimalist funk group from South Bronx with some disco influence. The group’s first hits from 1981 are still heavily sampled in everything from LL Cool J songs to Old Navy Commercials.
“Their music doesn’t feel dated. They’ve always been cutting edge,” Weise said.
Monsters of Rock, the winners of last week’s Battle of the Bands, is a high-energy fantasy-metal band. The members of Monsters of Rock are Krishna Andavolu ’04, Carl Cervone ’04, Simon O’Connor ’05, James Steiner ’05, Will Berman ’04, and Mark Hatch-Miller ’04. Weise commented that, at their performance last week, the band reciprocated the crowd’s energy and put on an engaging show.
“What a great line-up of bands,” said Matt Colvard ’04, a music major. “Maybe Monsters of Rock and Ghostface will hit it off and collaborate! That would be a really fecund cross-pollination of genres.”
Weise said that after the disaster last year, in which the headlining act pulled out of their contract at the last minute, one of the SC’s main concerns this year has been to pursue reliable artists and book the bands well in advance.
According to Camille Zahniser ’04, Chair of the Student Budget Committee (SBC), the SBC allocated about $50,000 total to the SC this year.
Zahniser dispelled the rumor that the SBC cut back the SC’s original allocation this year. She said that this year was different than others, because usually the SC is allocated $35,000 at the beginning of the year, whereas this year the SBC deferred allocating money until the SC had a more specific plan. Zahniser said that Spring Fling is costing about $40,000, while the other $10,000 went to Winter Carnival.
This increase in funding is largely thanks to the raised student body tax of $15 per semester, which gets lumped into general funds for everything to which the SBC allocates money.
Yanow reported that the SC paid $12,500 plus middleman fees for Ghostface, $10,000 for Soulive and about $5,000 for ESG.
One additional change the SC is working on this year is to try to make Spring Fling powered by solar energy. According to Weise the details are still being worked out, but if their effort is successful there will be a huge truck with solar panels at the event.
The usual barbecue will be available throughout the day, but students will not be allowed to bring grills onto the hill this year. Weise said that, due to past problems with grills and incidents of couches catching fire, there will instead be a grill section on the a non-inclined grass area.
Weise expressed hope that students act responsibly at Spring Fling with regards to the new wristband regulation on drinking.
“It’s worked at other schools, which is why I think it will go smoothly,” she said. “It’s also one of the first steps. If it doesn’t go well there will be more restrictions, and they could even cancel Spring Fling.”
She said that the SC has had to maneuver around more and more restrictions as the Administration tries to reign in Spring Fling.
“We’ve had to work closely with the Administration this year, which has been a departure from previous years,” Weise said. “However they were open to our comments and suggestions and were willing to compromise with us on several issues.”
Weise and Yanow agreed that their main concern has been to create a full experience with the event.
“I remember my freshman year De La Soul came,” Weise said. “The vibe was very chill and everybody seemed to be enjoying all the acts.”
According to Weise, who has been on the SC since her freshman year, members of the committee always try to think about who students would like to see and what artists will work well together.
“People don’t like us to superimpose our tastes on the campus,” she said.
Weise added that members of the SC are extremely well informed about contemporary artists, so students can also go to Spring Fling to hear great bands they don’t know about.
“It’s one of the only traditions we have at Wesleyan,” she said. “I think that all the acts that are coming this year are phenomenal.”