The agonizing wait is finally over. Last week, the College Events Board announced that pop singer-songwriter Sarah Bareilles and electronic group Ratatat will be performing at Yardfest this year on April 19. Whether the event will be successful has yet to be seen. We hope, however, that the CEB has learned its lesson from the disastrous Girl Talk pep rally this fall.
Bareilles and Ratatat are a departure from the series of outdated artists that the CEB has booked over the past couple of years. With Gavin DeGraw and Wu Tang Clan on stage last year, and Third Eye Blind in 2007, many criticized the CEB for selecting artists who were past their primes. Both Ratatat and Bareilles, on the other hand, are up-and-coming performers who, while perhaps less well known, offer an element of freshness that is a welcome change. Bareilles’s career just picked up momentum in late 2007, while Ratatat began its musical ascension in 2004.
As for logistics, the CEB seems to be off to a good start. Earlier this year, the organization polled students for their preferences of different artists and music genres and took into account the student body’s opinions when selecting artists. Students following the pop culture scene will enjoy Bareilles’s upbeat singles, and electronic fans can get excited for Ratatat’s innovative mixes. While more high-profile artists might have been preferred over these selections, the choices make sense given CEB’s limited budget.
The CEB, however, needs to do more than just polling to redeem itself in the eyes of students after the Girl Talk fiasco. At the Harvard Pep Rally in November, Harvard University Police decided to cut DJ Girl Talk’s concert short when the crowd swarmed a poorly constructed stage. In April, we expect the CEB to do a better job organizing the event, communicating with HUPD, and managing the crowd. One decision we find regrettable is the scheduling of the concert on a Sunday given student work constraints, but we understand that this might have been primarily due to booking conflicts with the artists themselves.
Ultimately, the success of the event still lies on CEB’s shoulders. They have made an important move in selecting upbeat contemporary artists. There is still a lot that remains to be seen though, and we hope that CEB puts a good deal of thought into preparations as we get closer to April 19.