Springfest 2019

April 12, 2019

Brandeis lucked out: this year’s Springfest was greeted by another spectacular day. Though the weather did not hold up nearly as well as the preceding Saturday, the sun remained visible (though often obscured) for most of the day and there was no rain during the concert.

This year’s lineup included three main performers: Ari Lennox, Rico Nasty and the highly anticipated Aminé. The show also featured a student rapper, Trizzy Tré (Tré Warner ’23) and a lively DJ that kept the music pumping throughout the event. Free T-Shirts were thrown, but I didn’t get one.

But let’s not kid ourselves here. For many students, Springfest is much more than a four hour concert on Chapels Field. The fun begins the moment you decide to roll out of bed, finally ending between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in a panicked crash as you grapple with how much homework you’ve neglected all weekend. Savvy students will have completed their obligations before hand.

The fact stands that Springfest is one of the few days of the year when a student can do whatever they please under the sun without catching too much moral flack. The trick is deciding what you want to consume, when you want to consume it and how. A quick walk down South Street always reveals a plethora of pre-game options ripe for the crashing.

The trick is deciding what you are going to do, when you will do it and where. There are many options for anyone hoping to have fun on and off campus. The real obstacle is keeping the fun going throughout the concert, but I’ll touch on that in a moment.

Brandeis offered two open barbeques this year, one on the green of south residences and another on the lawn of Skyline. The hot dogs were cold by the time I got around to them, but, given the circumstances, they were still the most delicious hot dogs I had ever eaten. The common areas of certain residential halls had been loaded with fruit roll ups and pringles among other things, and the snacks had neat little self-care advice stickers attached to them. Preemptively keeping above the hunger and dehydration is paramount for preventing impulsive food truck and Uber Eats runs later down the line.

Chapels Field itself was gated during the event, and large bags and containers were prohibited from entry. This severely limits one’s inventory of what can be brought into the venue. My girlfriend and I, ever fearful of being reprimanded, spent some time scoping out the gates to make sure there weren’t any pat downs or pocket checks, but the paranoia was largely unnecessary. Security this year seemed quite tolerant, and students could be seen openly partying throughout the event to little harassment.

Some folks can go from 8 a.m. to sundown, but for many others, Springfest is a pacing game. Nobody wants to be in the center of an Aminé mosh pit when they’re starting to come down. Although the show technically started at 2 p.m., it would be another four or five hours more before the final act. That’s a long time to keep the vibe alive, especially if you’re trying to keep a spot at the front of the pit. Students were allowed free exit and reentry to the event as far I was aware. Although I suppose I wasn’t aware of much; my notes become increasingly difficult to interpret after entering Chapels Field.

I think I got inside around 2:40. Trizzy Tré was either just getting on or just getting off the mic. I made a beeline for the grilled cheese truck. I remember completely failing to interface with the cashier like a human being. Did I gargle? Either way, I had my wallet ready in advance and just barely managed to swing my credit card hand within reach of the register and sign my name. It looked like some kind of demonic reach around, a very unholy transfer of currency. I felt like some kind of vulgar prostitution was taking place between us, but whether it was myself or the sandwich guy that was doing the prostituting is unknown.

My base need for sustenance satisfied for the moment, I couldn’t help but notice that the ground was far too wet to be standing in. The water was sloshing up into my shower sandals. I needed to seek higher ground. Three distinct human clumps were forming across the field. I climbed the back hill, where the sun and gravity kept the soil pleasantly dry, and claimed my place among an increasing number of blanket-laying loungers. The stage dwellers, many of whom likely intended to stay by the railing for the duration of the show, made up a massive clump at the other end of the field. The center became a sort of no man’s land, a swampy pit bookended on two sides by a “Quench station” and the food trucks.

At this point, I lapsed into a dream state. Ari Lennox had come on with her perfectly soothing voice. My notes here consist of the phrases “Delicious grilled Cheese” and “sun photosynthesizing.” Ari eventually gave way to Rico Nasty, a much louder, more hype sound, and it is during this period that the cheese pizza was served. Three massive stacks of pizza boxes were hauled to the Quench station, and students began to swarm pretty quickly.

Feeling refreshed after some hours (and not comprehending the horror that my bloated stomach would bring upon me in the coming hours), I realized that it was time to enter the pit. I wanted a T-shirt. Navigating the bowls of a general admission crowd is its own essay in physics. It’s a forest of bodies, constantly swaying, constantly undulating. As one approaches the stage, the bodies become more compact. Gaining headway (unless you are an especially tall person) requires patience. Edge and pry. Very few bodies are going to give much resistance, but even when they do, you can’t back down. If they’re giving you dirty looks, they obviously aren’t having fun anyway and are just looking for trouble. The natural sway of the bodies will always reveal niches so long as you don’t give any distance. If you have friends, lock hands and use them like battering rams.

Aminé eventually came on and did his thing. It was exciting, but you could feel the fatigue in the crowd. A sheet of clouds had finally overcome the sky and it looked like it might rain as the students cleared the field. Tired doesn’t mean bad, however. Though Brandeis’ spring celebration doesn’t always match the scale of other college shows (Brown’s Spring Weekend is going to have Aminé AND Mitski), it consistently provides a fun distraction from the rigors of Brandeis life. This year’s Springfest did not disappoint, and I am excited to see what kind of show we’ll get next year.

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