Headlining Spring Fling 2007 will be musical group TV on the Radio, with openers Deerhunter and rapper Project Pat of the Three 6 Mafia, the Social Committee (SC) said this week. Spring Fling will take place Wednesday, May 9 and will cost approximately $60,000.
“There were a number of names thrown around throughout the year, though TV on the Radio was always at the top of our list,” said SC member Michael Hurder ’07. “We also wanted to try something different this year by having a rock headliner as opposed to a hip-hop headliner.”
“I think this lineup is absolutely phenomenal,” echoed SC member Josh Scannell ’08. “Generally, I haven’t been this excited about a Spring Fling since I’ve been here. Personally, I plan on having an amazing time.”
Based in Brooklyn, NY, and formed in 2001, TV on the Radio (TVOTR) mixes post-punk, electronic, and other atmospheric elements to create a signature hybrid of indie rock and experimental music, according to Heather Phares of allmusic.com. Members include Tunde Adebimpe (vocals), Jaleel Bunton (drums), Kyp Malone (vocals/guitars), David Andrew Sitek (guitars/keyboards), and Gerard Smith (bass). TVOTR’s second and most recent full-length album, “Return to Cookie Mountain,” reached 41 on The Billboard 200 chart for 2006.
“As far as TV on the Radio, there’s little that I can say,” Scannell said. “They’re phenomenal musicians who put on a truly epic live performance. ‘Return to Cookie Mountain’ was easily the best rock record of 2006.”
Hailing from Atlanta, GA, Deerhunter also formed in 2001 and falls under the labels experimental and indie rock, and recently released its sophomore album, “Cryptograms.” Members include Moses Archuleta, Bradford Cox, Josh Fauver, Colin Mee, and Lockett Pundt.
“Deerhunter is one of the most exciting bands around right now,” Scannell said. “’Cryptograms’ has been one of my favorite albums of the year.”
Project Pat (Patrick Houston), hailing from Memphis, TN, entered the rap scene in the late 1990s through the Three 6 Mafia rap collective, which was co-founded by his brother, Juicy J (Jordan Houston). Since then, seven full-length albums and two singles have established Project Pat as a mainplayer in the Dirty South hip-hop scene. His latest album, “Crook by da Brook: The Fed Story,” was released in late 2006. It has reached #64 on 2006’s The Billboard 200 and #10 on The Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
“I think he’s one of the best rappers around and I absolutely cannot wait to see him live,” Scannell said of Project Pat.
The SC is a subcommittee of the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA).
“Social Committee is an eclectic group of students who’ve shown a commitment to staying on top not only of music being produced, but also what’s popular on campus.” Scannell said. “The committee brainstorms and pursues a variety of artists that are within our price range. Potential performers select themselves out based on availability and, once the field is narrowed, the committee decides by consensus what performers we think will be the best for Spring Fling. We also maintain a steady communication with the WSA and the [Student Budgetary Committee], who give us valuable feedback about the performers we’re pursuing.”
This year, according to Hurder, the SC’s budget was slightly less than its budget for Spring Fling 2006. Costs include musical acts and auxiliaries, such as transportation of performers and stage and sound.
“We were trying to book acts for Spring Fling that more students will know and enjoy, and hopefully we have succeeded,” Hurder said. “However, most rock bands with any moderate degree of popularity easily cost over $40,000. If we were to devote all of our funds to one of those bands, we wouldn’t have enough money to afford a second act that anybody else has ever heard before. TV on the Radio isn’t a hugely popular band yet, but they are an incredible live act, and their last album was almost universally acclaimed.”
Constraints on the SC range from a limited budget to the limited availability of many artists.
“The Social Committee works by brainstorming and contacting everyone that we possibly can,” Hurder said. “Then we see who gets back to us and who is affordable. Based on those two variables, the options are narrowed down pretty easily.”
This year, the SC’s considerations included Lily Allen, Clipse, The Rapture, Sonic Youth, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Members researched booking agent’s contact information online and negotiated directly with them. University lawyers drew up a contract with each artist, which addresses factors ranging from fees and playing times to food and travel provisions.
The day of Spring Fling, SC members are behind almost every operation.
“We work very closely with Public Safety, the [Office of] Student Activities and Leadership Development, Dean [of Campus Programs Rick] Culliton, etc.,” Scannell said. “Everything that happens the day of happens because someone on the committee made sure that it happened.”
Director of Public Safety Dave Meyer said that security can be difficult during Spring Fling because, as it is held outside on Foss Hill, the event has no securable entrances and exits. Collaboration with other University departments, he said, assists Public Safety in managing the grounds.
“It’s not just us out there,” Meyer said. “We get a lot of support from the Dean’s Office, Residential Life, and Student Activities and Leadership Development.”
Safety measures include wristbands to identify students age 21 years and older, a ban on lawn furniture, and a designated area for grills.
The SC also organizes Battle of the Bands, which determines the campus band who will open for the first headliner during Spring Fling. Previously, it also hosted popular musical artists during a Winter Carnival.
“In the past we used to hold an event called the Winter Carnival, but starting last year the committee decided to drop it in order to have more money for Spring Fling,” Scannell said. “Winter Carnival was generally just a slightly more high profile concert.”
The last Winter Carnival was held in 2004 and featured Mates of State and Jean Grae.