Students seeking refuge from the wrath of Winter Storm Nemo in the Sharpe Refectory this weekend were still buzzing about Brown Concert Agency’s surprise announcement of this year’s Spring Weekend lineup last Wednesday at midnight. Many voiced positive reactions to the act choices, though some expressed ambivalence or disappointment.
“Feedback has been even better than I expected, with one senior posting on Facebook ‘Better than our freshman year?’ with a comment trail of affirmative responses,” BCA Booking Chair Emma Ramadan ’13 wrote in an email to The Herald. “That’s more than I ever dared to hope for.”
That year, the lineup included MGMT, Major Lazer, The Black Keys and the rapper formerly known as Snoop Dogg.
To say rapper Kendrick Lamar will have an enthusiastic fan base when he takes the stage Saturday night would be an understatement, based on the fervor of his fans in the Ratty — perhaps “idolatrous” is the better word.
“It was an amazing snag of an artist who is peaking right now,” said Raghava Kamalesh ’14. “He’ll be a huge crowd pleaser and a lot of people will actually know the words to his songs, which is always fun.”
The announcement came in the wake of confusion — BlogDailyHerald posted a fake lineup Wednesday morning after the website received an email that had appeared to have been sent from BCA Publicity Chair Raillan Brooks ’13. The subsequent suspense of releasing the names at midnight made the announcement more exciting, said Paige Morris ’16.
“When the actual lineup came out … I was with all my friends in our dorm, and we all stayed up until midnight for it, refreshing on Facebook. … It was crazy,” Morris said. “We all screamed and celebrated when Kendrick was announced.”
The most common complaint from students was lack of name recognition, Ramadan said, an issue that illustrates the persistent conflict between the clamor for big mainstream acts and the constraints of the BCA budget.
“The only real criticism I’ve had is from people who hadn’t heard of some or many of the acts,” Ramadan said. “But that’s going to happen every year, because we can’t ever afford huge names like Taylor Swift or Lil Wayne.”
“I honestly thought he was a basketball player,” said Kiera Peltz ’16. She added that she is disappointed BCA didn’t book rapper Macklemore — who finished first in the Spring Weekend poll conducted by the Undergraduate Council of Students — especially since he will be performing at Wellesley College in early April.
Friday headliner A-Trak will be the main draw for fans of electronic music, though “Barbra Streisand” — the hit single he recorded as part of the duo Duck Sauce — has garnered him a fanbase that extends beyond just electronica enthusiasts.
“His turntable and scratching skills are unparalleled, and I don’t think there are any better live DJs out there,” said Kamalesh. “It’s going to be an absolute rager when he’s up there.”
“When he comes, I’m going to go up on stage,” said Angelo Nakos ’16.
Indie acts Dirty Projectors and Deerhunter — who will play before Lamar in Saturday’s lineup — have less mainstream appeal than the two headliners, but their supporters were no less zealous.
“I know people are like, ‘Dirty Projectors, Deerhunter, so hipster. I only know Kendrick Lamar.’ But I think that’s kind of the point of Spring Weekend,” said Emily Schell ’16. “I think it’s cool that they have the up-and-coming groups.”
“I’m excited for Dirty Projectors. That’s the main thing that I’m going for,” said Michelle Zheng ’16.
Though MJ Batson ’13, director of campus music group Brown Unheard, “wasn’t thrilled” with the lineup this year, she credited BCA for booking a “big name” like Kendrick Lamar. “As a senior, I’m going no matter who’s playing,” she said. “It’s more about the communal experience.”
Big Freedia, queen bee of the New Orleans bounce circuit, has also generated a considerable amount of attention. “She (is) going to be so fun,” said Mia Zachary ’13. Several students admitted they would probably practice twerking in anticipation of her arrival.
“I’m pumped,” said Gabe Spellberg ’13.5. “(Expletive), don’t kill our vibe,” he added, in reference to the song by Lamar.
Spring Weekend is April 19-21. Tickets will go on sale in early April.