About that new Springfest…

By Tom Lisi

Many of you have heard that there have been some changes made to Springfest this year, and as a member of the committee, I’d like to explain our reasoning for them.First off, the biggest change is the schedule. You might have heard that the whole event will be inside, and the outdoor spring event you know and love is no more. Lies! Instead, there will be a barbeque on Shaw Field from 5 to 8pm, and a dance from 10 until 1 am in the Leonard Center.

We’ve heard through the grapevine several complaints, one being, “but it’s spring, the whole point is that it’s outside!” Well, here’s the deal. In the past five to ten years, Springfest has seen dismal attendance. Out of a campus of 1,700 or so students, we have been lucky to get more than 200. Part of the blame goes to the weather, part of it the planning, but personally, I think it’s just old fashioned student indifference. For whatever reason, hanging out on Shaw Field with friends and listening to music is not good enough anymore.

Which leads me to the next oft-heard complaint: “why don’t they ever get cool artists to come here? Other schools like us get super awesome bands to come.” Part of it was a lack of planning. The process for finding acts to come this year started at the beginning of this semester, and admittedly should have started last semester. But most of the issue is money. Other hoity-toity colleges like Grinnell might spend upwards of $100,000 for a top 40 artist. This year, we were given a budget of $19,000 to spend on music.

For the whole event, Springfest in past years has had a price tag between $40,000 and $60,000. Why spend all that money on an event that so few people go to, especially when more people hang out on the lawn in front of the Campus Center on any warm Friday (for zero dollars)?

So instead of wasting those precious dollars on a supremely mediocre event, we have made an honorable attempt to revamp it, and bring back that thing people talked about when you were a PF.

So instead of last year’s 3 to 8 p.m. format, we will have a barbeque from 5 to 8 on Shaw Field featuring Macalester DJs and the beloved Muskies. There will be various lawn sports including badminton and bocce, a dunk tank, a slip n’ slide, a magic bounce, the popular photo booth and delicious barbeque from Big Daddy’s on University Ave. The food is subsidized, and we will sell meal tickets for four bucks. And this year’s beer garden will come from Surly.

At around 8, you go home with your friends, find your second wind, and come back to the gym for a glow-in-the-dark extravaganza at 10. The gym will be transformed into a super awesome nightclub featuring the music of Pac-Div and Matthew Santos, as well as the reggae/dance hall DJ Redd Hott, and DJ Pup Dawg. You might be asking yourself, “Who the fuck are they?” To be honest, I don’t really know them either, but remember: $19,000. Check them out on the interwebs and you will find that you will finally be able to expend all that drunk energy instead of being confused on Shaw Field and then passing at 9.

In the coming days and weeks we will be promoting the event with free mix CDs of the artists, which should give you a better idea of the night festivities and maybe you’ll even lose that too-cool-for-Springfest tude.

Tom Lisi ’10 can be reached at [email protected]