Yardfest Draws Record Numbers

Despite the inhospitable chill and Sunday-night scheduling, singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles and electronic duo Ratatat drew hordes of undergraduates to Yardfest 2009 in Tercentenary Theater yesterday evening.

Initial estimates from the College Events Board, the student-staffed body responsible for planning the event, placed Sunday’s attendance just around 7,100, slightly above last year’s figure, despite the considerably colder weather.

“Everything went better than we could have ever hoped for,” said James A. McFadden, the CEB’s vice-chair. “It was surprising that it went so well.”

But despite the on-campus hype that built quickly after their appearance was made official, Ratatat disappointed some Yardfest-goers by limiting their repertoire to their original electronic material and not venturing into their better-known remixed work.

“I hoped they would play more from the remix albums,” said Peter Fodroczy ’11, maintaining that nonetheless, “They were still really good.”

The digital duo elicited may spectator screams throughout their performance, taking the stage at approximately 7 p.m. underneath a shower of glow-sticks and inflatable beach-balls. Their set progressed with eerie clips of the band’s music videos playing in the background—at one point, band member Mike Stroud wildly screamed “I love Harvard!”

Bareilles, in contrast, opened the festivities at 5:30 sharp, after the crowd had feasted on the corn dogs, kebabs, and similarly carnivalesque fare. The songstress played her pop-rock hit ‘Love Song’ only after a preliminary set of largely unknown numbers, taunting the crowd at the beginning of one initial track, “It’s not what you think it is!”

On her third-to-last track, Bareilles finally relented, to the welcoming cries of a large sector of the gathered mass.

‘Love Song’ has been Bareilles first and only chart-climber, reaching a peak position of number four on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the summer of 2007.

While opinions on the weather, the food, and the performances varied widely, many students simply expressed gratitude for the opportunity to commingle with friends and classmates.

Max R. Selver ’11 echoed this sentiment, commenting, “I’m just happy there’s music playing out loud right now.”

Ratatat was due to make appearances at the Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub after the event; they arrived around 9:15 p.m.

Asked about the quality of the show, Stroud replied, “Once the sun went down, it got better.”

He further elaborated that he was “more psyched for the security guards than the students” in preparing for the show. His bandmate, Evan Mast, insisted on replying on paper, commenting only, “KAMBLOCK RENSALEAR BAGEL RUB.”

Mast also reflected on the quality of food offered, writing “THES KABLAHS ARE VARIOUS BRANGE RENSE.”

—Staff writer Edward-Michael Dussom can be reached at emdussom@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Wyatt P. Gleichauf can be reached at wgleich@fas.harvard.edu.