The battle for Yardfest has begun—20 weeks early.
Over the holiday break, a debate erupted between two Facebook pages promoting desired performers for the College’s annual music festival: Canadian pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen and electronic dance music duo the Chainsmokers.
The only problem? There is no shortlist for the concert yet.
Tensions flared among fans of the two acts on social media as rumors circulated they were in the running to perform at the College-wide event. The two fan bases marshaled forces for their preferred performer.
The Facebook pages, “Carly Rae Jepsen for Yardfest 2017” and “The Chainsmokers for Yardfest 2017,” both aimed at rallying support for their respective artist, gave rise to rumors that the artists had been chosen for the shortlist as the College Events Board made its selection. The social media frenzy at times focused on more than just the music—some in the Carly Rae Jepsen camp argued the Chainsmokers were too expensive.
The Jepsen Facebook page had garnered more than 250 "likes" by Monday night, compared to more than 450 for the Chainsmokers.
Amid the escalating dispute, the CEB issued a statement on their Facebook page denying rumors that they had created a shortlist, writing that while the board had “taken notice of the buzz surrounding some posts on other Facebook pages,” they were far from their final decision. They also urged students to respect “each other’s differing opinions” when advocating for their preferred artist.
“While Carly Rae Jepsen and The Chainsmokers had an impressive showing, there were also many other artists that students showed heavy support for. We have not made any offers, nor have we ranked artist options, thus, the information shared about Carly Rae Jepsen and The Chainsmokers being our top 2 artists is false,” the statement read. “We love Carly Rae Jepsen, we love The Chainsmokers, but they are not our top 2 as we do not have a top 2 at this point in time.”
In a subsequent email, Kaysie J. Gonzalez ’18, co-chair of the CEB, clarified that the committee had still not settled on a shortlist of artists for the event.
The argument reached a boiling point after some students raised concerns that they found the Chainsmokers a troublesome choice to perform at the College-wide concert because of previous statements the artists have made. In one interview with Billboard Magazine, the two members of the Chainsmokers bragged about their genital size and said their goal in becoming famous was “to hook up with hotter girls.”
Nicholas Whittaker ’19, who was vocal on Facebook about his opposition to the Chainsmokers, said in an interview he was concerned after “seeing some things that the Chainsmokers have said, and the kind of attitude that they promote, especially towards women, and a general atmosphere that is kind of uncomfortable to a lot of us.”
The choice for Yardfest’s headlining artist has, in the past, sparked controversy among students. In 2013, when the CEB chose Tyga as the headliner, more than 1,000 people signed a petition to cancel the performance, citing some of the artist’s lyrics that they said were derogatory towards women.
The CEB in Saturday’s Facebook post said it welcomed debate and was “inspired by how vocal students have been about their support for the artists they suggested.”
Fans of Jepsen, best known for her hit single “Call Me Maybe,” expressed hope that the debate remain positive.
“I'm a diehard Carly Rae Jepsen fan but it seems to me a lot of people want the Chainsmokers, " Spencer Glesby, ’19 one of the students who started the Carly Rae Jepsen page, wrote in an email.
In its post, the CEB said it was taking all suggestions into “careful consideration” and would continue to welcome any feedback it received.
—Staff writer Graham W. Bishai can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GrahamBishai.
—Staff writer Brandon J. Dixon can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonJoDixon.