By STEVE KNIGHT
This year’s Springfest will be revolutionary, coordinators said, but it could also be “make-it or break-it.”
Collaboration of student organizations and theme houses has made Springfest a festival as well as a concert. “Music festivals are not just a stage with bands and people standing around on a grassy field,” Andrew Hosmer ’13, Springfest coordinator, said. “There are events going on. There are people doing things. Hula hoop workshops and venders selling stuff.”
Besides the giant tricycles, wrecking ball, airbrush tattoos and peddle-cars, students at Springfest will set up booths on the Quad to offer hydration, games with root vegetables, condoms, face painting and tie-dying. “We are making Springfest less of an ACE event and more of a school event; making everyone feel part of it.” Allie Walter ’14, ACE concert chair, said.
The OC, WRC, Habitat House, Green House, L.I.G.H.T. House, EAO, Circle K, the Hub, Annex, Commons and Java are all joining in the fun. The day will start out with a yoga session by the L.I.G.H.T. House and include a parade of human-powered, wheeled vehicles through campus sponsored by the Green House.
The Springfest venue on the Quad will include a second stage for nine hours of continuous music, a beer garden by First Crush with $4 beers, and a “weenie wagon” of food that takes CWA and meal plan. There will also be an outdoor Dana theme dinner that can be taken to the quad.
With the addition of a concert by SLU’s own Femme Fatales in the Underground on Thursday and seven hours of music for the Adirondack Folk Celebration at the old Java Quad on Friday, Springfest will now be advertised as one part of a “weekend of music”.
“It’s taking on a grassroots change,” Nicholas Schessl ’14, coordinator of the Adirondack Folk Celebration, said. “Everybody is coming together for music.”
James Racette ’12, of Java, said the ultimate goal is to “leave this a better place than we found it… We’re trying to pick out what worked from years past and adapt to what the school expects of future events.”
With increased collaboration comes a need for student responsibility. Jordan Pescrillo ’12, of Java, said by involving the many and diverse communities within SLU they are spreading the responsibility for students to monitor each other.
“A culture has developed around Springfest that culminated last year in basically a riot outside the venue. People don’t have a sense of personal responsibility or connection to the event,” Racette said. “So by getting student groups involved, we are really hoping that it models responsible behavior to the freshmen.”
SLU Safety and Security, citing past incidents with violence and alcohol, required that the Quad be fenced so that everyone must enter and exit through two access points. The access points will allow officers to watch for individuals who are too intoxicated or carrying prohibited items, such as alcohol or weapons.
Fence and alcohol policies for such events have been criticized in the past by students who feel that it encourages binge drinking before entering the venue. “The school’s liability wouldn’t let them do the safest thing,” Racette said. “The safest thing is to allow people to drink openly and have lots of TIPS monitors.”
Walter said Security collected descriptions of similar events at peer institutions and determined that our Springfest is the most liberal in allowing free access and alcohol. “We really need people to take responsibility for themselves,” she said.
Springfest coordinators said that if negative behavior continues, this will be the last year of Springfest. “Please be responsible,” Hosmer said. “It’s a long day with a lot going on… Slow and steady wins the race.”
Despite concerns for the safety and security of the Springfest venue, the Adirondack Folk Celebration will not be fenced, according to Schessl. “I have faith in the student body and this type of music,” he said. “It will allow people to get out some of their crazy before Springfest.”
The idea for a folk event came from Schessl’s Adirondack Semester, he said, where they met local entertainers, storytellers and one-man-bands. When theme houses were invited to participate in Springfest, the Green House got behind Schessl’s idea for a Folk Celebration.
The point of the event, Schessl said, is to bring students together with performers from the North Country as well as local community members: “We are making a lot of noise with Springfest so this [folk celebration] is something for the neighbors.”