Fans of rapper and hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar rejoiced on Friday, April 12 when a Wesleying post announced that Lamar will be the headlining act at Spring Fling on Thursday, May 9. Openers will include hip-hop artist Ab-Soul, DJ Ryan Hemsworth, and chiptune indie rock band Anamanaguchi. The final opener, a student band, will be determined after the Battle of the Bands competition which will take place later this week.
According to co-chairs of the Spring Fling Committee Dylan Bostick ’13 and Will Feinstein ’13, Kendrick Lamar was chosen and signed as headliner last semester.
“Upon meeting in the fall, we decided that we thought Kendrick would be the best possible headliner,” Bostick said. “We were all really excited about [his most recent] album.”
Bostick explained that Lamar was an easy choice for the 11 committee members.
“[Choosing Lamar] was pretty much unanimous among the committee,” he said. “We had thought about other acts, of course, but considering his price and rising popularity, we just wanted to [book him].”
Of the 85,000 dollars granted to the Spring Fling Committee by the Student Budget Committee, 50,000 went to booking Lamar. Of the remaining 35,000 dollars, 15,000 went to utilities such as staging and lighting, 10,000 went to Ab-Soul, 6,000 went to Hemsworth, and 4,000 went to Anamanaguchi. Ab-Soul and Lamar, who share a label, were booked together.
Bostick stated that unlike in past years, this year the committee decided to dedicate a majority of its funding to a single headliner.
“I think in the past we had been going with a model that was more even distribution among artists but we decided it would be better focusing on getting one, more popular artist,” Bostick said. “That’s why the distribution was more uneven this year.”
Some students have lamented the fact that the lineup does not include a more traditional rock band.
“I’m thoroughly disappointed in the lack of an actual band,” said Ismet Jooma ’14.
Bostick acknowledged that this is a fair critique.
“A lot of bands that I wanted to get were just unavailable, or were too big and we didn’t have enough money for them, or were too small and…we thought we could just book for a show at Psi U instead [of at Spring Fling], so we didn’t end up going with them,” Bostick explained.
Bostick stated that the decision to book Hemsworth was a response to the rising popularity of electronic music.
“We definitely wanted to get an electronic act because we think that that’s what people have been listening to more recently,” he said. “There’s definitely been a shift toward more electronic music, so we wanted to incorporate that in the lineup. That’s why we got a DJ.”
Feinstein noted that he hopes students who do not recognize the names of every artist will not be discouraged from attending the concert.
“I hope people who don’t know certain acts will just keep an open mind and just check them out because they’ll be fun to see,” he said.
Last year, due to rain, Spring Fling was held in the Spurrier-Snyder Rink. Many students were disappointed that the event was moved indoors. Feinstein and Bostick stated that this year, the Spring Fling Committee is exploring other possible venues in the case of rain. They explained that the issue in the case of rain is not the weather itself but the impact an outdoor concert could have on a muddy field shortly before commencement.
“We’re trying to make sure that if it rains, we don’t have to be [in the hockey rink],” Feinstein said. “We’re exploring the idea of using the Vine Street parking lot [in the case of rain].”
This year, instead of allowing students and their guests to attend Spring Fling for free, guests of students will be charged $20 for admission. Tickets for non-students can be purchased at the Usdan Box Office beginning on Monday, April 22.
“At many other schools [students] have to pay to go to their Spring Fling,” Bostick said. “The fact that Wesleyan’s is free is awesome, but we felt like there isn’t any reason we shouldn’t get more money from outside funding like that.”
Bostick explained that the Committee is also exploring the possibility of renting moon bounces and dunk tanks the day of the concert.
Many students were happy to hear that Kendrick Lamar would be coming to the University.
“I think it’s going to be really fun,” said Alice Severs ’15. “Kendrick blew up really fast.”
Mariah Burke ’15 was also happy to hear about the headliner.
“I am very excited about having Kendrick Lamar,” she said. “However, I didn’t know a lot of the openers, but I’m very excited for the headliner. I think he’s going to be better than last year’s.”
Not all students were enthusiastic about Lamar, however.
“I can’t speak for [Lamar’s] lyrical style, because I think it’s actually quite interesting, but that’s not what you look for in a Spring Fling band,” said Francisco Hernandez ’14. “You look for something that’s going to be more fun and more lively.”
Emily Roff ’14 also criticized the lineup.
“We needed a throwback band,” she said.
Despite the reservations of some students, Bostick and Feinstein are optimistic about the event.
“I think it’s a pretty diverse lineup with some name recognition and some smaller names that I think is just going to be really fun outside for the whole campus,” Feinstein said.
“I’m very excited,” Bostick said. “All of the artists are awesome…. It’s going to be a great show.”