2016 Springfest Preview: Featuring We The Kings

2016 Springfest We The KingsSpringfest, featuring We The Kings, will commence on Shadow Lawn on Sunday, April 24 from 12 to 5 p.m.

Springfest is an annual event hosted by the Student Government Association (SGA) that has been a staple of the University academic year for many decades. “I really love how Springfest brings everyone together at the end of the year for one big celebration. People from all over campus stop focusing on finals for one afternoon to hang out and spend time together, which I think is a great tradition,” said Brianna Merriman, a junior communication student.

This year, the American rock-band We the Kingswill be performing at Springfest. In 2007, their self-titled debut album We The Kings sold over 250,000 copies nationwide. The album included their platinum single “Check Yes Juliet.” Last year, the band released their fifth album Strange Love.

Every year, Springfest has a theme. “This year’s Springfest is themed Hawaii Luau. There will be a fire knife performance and Hawaiian Luau dancers,” said Vaughn Clay, the Director of the Office of Off-Campus and Commuter Services and the advisor for SGA.

“The core philosophy behind Springfest has been that it is a fun way to end the academic year. There is a barbeque, there is music, inflatables, and novelties, and it’s just a fun way to lay back a little bit and hang out with your friends before you dive into final exams. It is a nice capstone to the academic year,” said Clay.

“Many students are excited for the performance by We the Kings. Some remember their early popularity, and others have continued to listen to their new music,” said Merriman. “I am so excited for We the Kings! I think it’s the best act we’ve had since I’ve been a student here. I have really enjoyed their music since I was in middle school, and I think a lot of people are going to love hearing them play.”

Casey Schellinger is a member of the Student Government Association and the Chair of the Springfest. She has spent months preparing for the event. “I was given this position at this time last year and I have been planning it pretty much ever since. In the Fall semester I did a lot of the beginning steps, like researching bands and comparing prices for different things we wanted to include,” she said.

Every year, the joint efforts of other organizations are needed to help SGA make Springfest a success. “The Student Government Association along with various other contributors, such as the Student Activities Board (SAB), and the Office of Student Activities, have been working on preparing this upcoming Springfest for nearly a year. Having We the Kings Perform this year is kind of a direct result of working with Student Activities,” said Clay.

According to Clay, Springfest has drastically grown both physically and monetarily since he began helping prepare Springfest 21 years ago. “We used to hold it on Great Lawn, but then we talked about finding an easier location, and Shadow Lawn just became the natural new home. Everybody seems to like it. And from a practical standpoint we have been able to put a little more money into Springfest throughout the years,” he said.

Clay asserts that the rate for performances has increased throughout the years. This impedes the University’s ability to afford certain artists. “The costs are great for even a somewhat known performer. So that makes it more challenging for us. So when we get questions about why can’t we have ‘x’ performer, it’s because cost makes it exponentially that much more challenging for us,” he said.

“However, I think we do a pretty good job at trying to identify artists who might be on the rise, and who will capture the attention of the student body. I think We the Kings will be a fun, and popular performance. We will also have our DJ who has been working with us for a number of years. He is an alum, and he really enjoys providing that filler.”

According to Schellinger, when it came time to book We The Kings, all of the stars aligned. “They’re at the end of a tour right now so it worked perfectly. We felt like they would be great for the event because they have a lot of energy and everyone remembers ‘Check Yes Juliet.’” she said.

Clay said that the estimated total price for We the Kings is about $30,000.

On the day of Springfest, students do not need to bring much. “Students only need to bring their student ID in order to get a t-shirt, but all of the food and beverages will be free as always, which I think is one of the best parts of the event, as we’re getting to the end of the semester and no one wants to spend money that they don’t have to,” said Clay.

The dining hall will be closed during the Springfest events. “Gourmet is providing the food this year. Following tradition, the dining hall will be closed on that day. It will be a mix of Hawaiian inspired food, and the usual hamburgers and hotdogs. Following another Springfest tradition, we will be having fried oreos again. The day starts at 12 and ends at 5 p.m. Gourmet will have breakfast out earlier than that,” said Schellinger.

Students are not allowed to bring alcohol to Springfest. Bags and backpacks that may potentially hold alcohol are not permitted. Pets are not allowed, and students commuting to Springfest should enter through the Larchwood Avenue entrance. An email by Vice President Mary Anne Nagy of Student Life and Leadership Engagement, will be sent out to the student body further explaining the guidelines.

The organizers of Springfest are hoping for good weather on Sunday. Nonetheless, if it rains they have a backup plan. “The only thing that can throw a monkey wrench into things is the weather. But, even if it does rain we will hold Springfest in the MAC. We have held it in the MAC before. It is a very positive experience in the MAC as well, there is a lot of space, so people can spread out and hang out, and still experience many of the same things that they would if they were outside,” said Clay.

PHOTO COURTESY of Casey Schellinger