Last Monday, All Campus Entertainment (ACE) announced via a banner in Paresky that reggae singer Shaggy will headline Spring Fling 2017. Rapper Jerreau will perform as the opener for the concert, which will take place on April 7 in Towne Field House.
Shaggy is a reggae fusion singer, best known for hit singles “It Wasn’t Me,” “Boombastic” and “Angel.” He has released 12 studio albums, with the most recent being Out of Many, One Music in 2013. In 1996, Shaggy won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album with Boombastic. He has also been nominated for five other Grammy awards.
Jerreau just released his debut album Never How You Plan on the streaming service SoundCloud in April 2016. He is best known for his hit single “Really Got It,” which he performed in Cleveland during Game Four of the 2016 NBA Finals.
As ACE co-concert chairs, Elizabeth Sullivan ’18 and Madison Feeney ’19 have the task of signing artists for Spring Fling. Like most years, Sullivan and Feeney began the entire process by asking for student input.
“In the fall, we sent an all-campus email with a focus on personal music choices to get a good sense of what people are listening too,” Sullivan said. “We wanted to give people the opportunity to share their opinion even if they are not on ACE. It’s important for us to collect these responses and analyze them so that we know what the entire campus is listening to.”
One question asked students to list their ideal Spring Fling headliner. “People do not always understand who we are capable of booking,” Feeney said.
“We wish we could get their favorite artists or the artists they listen to most, like Beyoncé for example, but we don’t have financial capacity among other factors,” Sullivan added.
For the last few years, Spring Fling has been free of charge for all students. “CC [College Council] is really generous in the way that [it]prioritizes Spring Fling and understands that a concert of this magnitude does require a big budget,” Sullivan said. Sullivan explained that most schools charge students anywhere from $30 to upwards of $100 to attend their version of Spring Fling.
After receiving results from the survey, ACE began the planning process. “We asked ourselves, what type of events do we think Williams students would want to go to, and we think about which kinds of events have been historically well attended,” Sullivan said.
Both Sullivan and Feeney explained that EDM concerts have been popular and well-attended in recent years. “People really like EDM because of the atmosphere. We have seen the results. A lot of people will go,” Sullivan said. “But the focus is less on the artist or the music, and some people think that EDM is just pressing computer buttons.”
This year, ACE received feedback that students were listening to more throwbacks. “The trend is going back,” Feeney said. ACE reached out to Shaggy and Jerreau this past fall and recently received final signatures from both artists.
“[Shaggy] is iconic and easy to listen to,” Sullivan said. “We wanted someone who would fit with a really fun time of year … I think spring is the best time to be on campus.”
On the other hand, Sullivan encouraged students to come on time to also see Jerreau. “Students will get the opportunity to see someone who is really up and coming,” she said. “LeBron [James] also really likes him.”
Spring Fling, the largest concert on campus each year, will take place in the Field House, which has a capacity of 1200 people, for the second year. In previous years, the concert often took place in Lassell Gym, which only has a capacity of 800. Sullivan and Feeney are also excited that the concert will be on the first Friday after Spring Break. “It will be really nice to set the tone, and hopefully people will get excited,” Sullivan said.
Above all else, Sullivan emphasized that Spring Fling is intended to be different each year. “Every year it varies, but we always take into account as many people’s perspectives as possible. We know that it is impossible to please every student on this campus but we listen to all of the input we receive and we work as hard as we can to use this information to provide students with a concert they can feel happy with. We also encourage people to come to ACE and be a part of the process if they would like to get more involved.”