Springfest is a mere four weeks away and if you missed the video released before spring break, the artists Biz Markie and Deerhoof will be headlining. I sat down with Program Board Concerts and Festivals Chairs, Mickey Davis and Noah Koch this past Monday to discuss this year’s Springfest, music festivals, and breakfast food.
How did you choose this year’s artists? What was your process?
Mickey: We met as a board and we basically opened it up for anyone who wanted to be involved in Springfest to come to our meetings. One of the things we did with that group, along with the fall concerts, was we compiled a master list of bands they wanted to see at Springfest and then figured out their prices.
Noah: A lot of people were eliminated really quickly, because they were too expensive.
M: We tried to get a view of who was available and who would be in our price range. We started a Concerts and Festivals Facebook page and we asked who people wanted to see play.
N: We were pretty intent about having a hip-hop act this year, because it’s something that I heard a lot of demand for last year, and with the process that we went through, Biz Markie kind of came out.
M: When artists play colleges and festivals, they charge more. There’s a special price for colleges and festivals because they know that their bottom line isn’t dependent on ticket sales, it’s a flat guarantee. So, you’ll have a band that usually makes like $5000 every time they play a show, but to come to a college they want $15,000.
N: We had a few bands that seemed very viable and ended up blowing up from new albums and getting successful and then asked for more. There were so many, ‘Oh my god, these people are coming!’ and then it didn’t work out.
M: One of them we actually sent a formal offer and then they were like ‘Oh, they’re going to Japan at that time,’ and we’re like ‘Oh, I guess we don’t have as much appeal as a tour of Japan.’ What other acts were seriously considered?
N: The Dirty Projectors came out on top and that was one that like, ‘What if they came here? That would be so cool?’
M: They just wanted more money than we had.
N: The one that was really on the top of the hip-hop list, who was like $80,000, was Wale.
M: Then our second offer was to Baths and they were the one who took the tour in Japan.
How are you choosing the local opening band?
N: WMCN is having a Battle of the Bands which is on March 30th in 10K. We’ll have a panel of judges. We have someone from the blog Minneapolis Fucking Rocks, and someone from the Cedar, and Casey Jarrin, the English professor, and then students will vote… The panel chooses people to move onto round 2 and then after round 2, students choose.
M: It’s the same format we did last year and it worked out really well.
N: It’s Bad Bad Hats, Carroll, Replicas, Maeth, Blue Heron and Word on the Street. Macalester bands having been blowing up. Three in the past three weeks were featured on the local Current and two of them are playing at Battle of the Bands.
M: It’s cool to see other people in the Twin Cities being like ‘Oh, wait. There are really great bands at Macalester.’
I’ve heard rumors of breakfast food for Springfest.
N: Rumors. Basically that came about from me jokingly, but seriously it’s a fun idea, it’s just not really viable. What we’re doing now is getting food trucks to come to campus. I think food trucks are the way to go, because first of all they’re the coolest things ever. I’ve never had bad food from them.
What else do you have planned for Springfest?
N: I want to try to get orgs involved with running booths at Springfest, because it’s called Springfest. It’s supposed to be a festival. That was a big goal: to get people more involved with Springfest.
M: It’s not as fun when it’s all just top down, when we make all the decisions. Because Noah and I have ideas for what we want, but so does everyone else.
How would you categorize Macalester’s taste in music and how do you try and cater to that?
M: We had a comments section on the artists survey, and we had so many artists, this huge range, completely different genres, different sizes, from different areas of the country. So, that was kind of amazing to see that if we asked everyone ‘What is your dream Springfest?’ very few people would say the same artist.
N: Which is nerve-racking. No matter who you choose, you can’t make everyone happy… But, you can try.
M: I think no matter what, there will always be backlash. It’s just a matter of knowing you can’t please everybody all the time, but you hope that everyone has a good time. I think we were very deliberate about being like ‘We’re going to choose bands both because they’re popular and because people want to see them, but also because even if you don’t know them, their live show is going to be fun – like Dan Deacon. There were a lot of people who didn’t know Dan Deacon last year and then he had them dancing like what they wished Avatar looked like and everyone was like ‘I don’t know what this is, but I’m having a great time.’ And Biz Markie is on Yo Gabba Gabba so…
What should we expect other than ‘Just a Friend’? from Biz Markie?
N: That’s what everyone is going to get excited for, but he has some solid music.
M: We don’t think about it because we know Biz Markie from ‘Just a Friend’ and Yo Gabba Gabba, but he was super popular at one time and I think people are seeing his Yo Gabba Gabba as this midlife crisis or something, but he puts on really great shows. He also does a lot of beatboxing. He has a whole album called Make the Music With Your Mouth. I suggest that everyone just watch all of his clips from Yo Gabba Gabba. I love it, but that’s how people know Biz.
Let’s talk about Deerhoof a little bit too. How would you describe Deerhoof to students who maybe haven’t heard of them before?
N: Listen to them up on Youtube. That’s what I’ve been telling people. I’ve been opening my mouth to explain them and… just watch a live show, just turn up your music as loud as you possibly can and listen to them.
M: They’re just really crazy. I assumed they all did a lot of drugs, but then found out that they actually don’t. They don’t even drink. So they’re just crazy people.
Are there any other events Concerts and Festivals is doing this semester or is Springfest pretty much your focus from here on out?
M: We’re helping run a show on March 31st.
N: And we’re helping with Battle of the Bands. M: The 31st is a couple bands from out of town: Truman Peyote and this band, Yohuna and a local band called Wiping out Thousands and then me.
N: Less formal than Springfest. 10K the weekend of the 30th-31st is just going to be us exploding with music the entire time.
mark yo’ agendas// springfest april 21st 4-8pm shaw field concert
tix: free w/ mac id everyone else $5
meal tix: $5 buy @ infodesk