The Verve Pipe Set To Headline Springfest
Council’s $15,000 bid brings modern rock band to festival
“It’s a go as far as we’re concerned,” said Mira Buttleman of DBMI, The Verve Pipe’s management company.
The Verve Pipe was the best band available in April, usually a busy month for college concerts, according to Undergraduate Council President Sujean S. Lee ’03
“Based on who’s available, The Verve Pipe seemed to be a good choice,” she said. “A lot of people like their music.”
The council, which plans Springfest, has not yet officially announced the selection of The Verve Pipe, although planners said at last Sunday’s meeting that they will spend $15,000 on their chosen headlining band.
The band first gained national attention in 1996 when a re-recorded version of “The Freshmen” catapulted their Villains album to gold status.
Since then, The Verve Pipe has not had any major hits, though they have released two new albums, The Verve Pipe in 1999 and Underneath in 2001.
Rolling Stone magazine wrote that the band sounded like “Michigan grungelings who teethed on the Psychedelic Furs.”
The selection of The Verve Pipe comes on the heels of a minor controversy for the council over what band would be chosen to play at the event—the first time Springfest will be co-sponsored by University President Lawrence H. Summers’ office.
Lee had said the council would try to pick a headlining band with a broad appeal in light of Summers’ plan to invite the families of faculty and staff to Springfest.
But some council members said they believed that comments made by Lee at a March 17 meeting had suggested that Summers did not want a hip-hop band to headline Springfest.
“I would certainly hope that a single type of music wasn’t sectioned off,” said Black Students Association President Brandon A. Gayle ’03, who had e-mailed Lee to express his concerns.
But Lee said that while individual members of Summers’ staff expressed a preference for a rock band, hip-hop was not categorically excluded and the choice of bands was ultimately up to the council.
Council members planning Springfest, according to Lee, originally wanted the hip-hop band Jurassic 5 to play at the event, but the band would have charged $10,000 more than the council’s $15,000 limit.
Springfest planners said they were also considering Semisonic, Nine Days, Vanessa Carlton and Ben Kweller.
“Basically we had two or three top bands that we wanted and we looked at which ones were available for April 27,” said Michael R. Blickstead ’05, co-chair of the council’s Campus Life Committee, which was in charge of finding the band.
Last year, Springfest did not have a professional headliner and instead featured only student bands. In 2000, neo-swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy played at Springfest.
Blickstead also promised better food, more rides and more participation by student groups at this year’s event.
“We’re enhancing every aspect of Springfest,” he said.
While the council has allotted $20,000 for the event so far, Blickstead said that with a contribution from Summers’s office—undetermined as of yet—the total budget will likely be over $40,000.
Springfest will be free for all members of the Harvard community and their families.
—Staff writer William M. Rasmussen can be reached at email@example.com.