Yardfest Planning ‘Still in the Phase of Contract Negotiations’

Although this week’s gray skies and snow do not attest, spring weather is fast approaching—and with it, Yardfest, the College’s annual outdoors concert.

Weeks away, however, the event scheduled for April 24 is still without a headliner, and the College Events Board has not set a date to announce the artist.

“We're still in the phase of contract negotiations,” Yardfest Co-Chair Wyatt M. Robertson ’18 wrote in an email to The Crimson. “We don’t have an exact date,” he added, referring to when the board will announce the artist.

In past years, announcements have typically come in early March.

Last year, British pop artist Jessie J was declared as the headliner with an online announcement featuring a compilation of Jessie J video clips set to one the artist’s most popular songs, “Bang Bang,” on March 25, 2015.

Similarly, the CEB announced R&B; and soul artist Janelle Monáe’s appearance the year before in a video on March 13, 2014.

Despite the ongoing negotiations, however, Robertson insisted there is no reason for concern.

“Some contracts just take longer than others,” he explained, adding that the announcement will come “soon.”

Indeed, the upcoming announcement will be the result of months of planning, which began last October with a pair of meetings between the selection committee and students to start formulating a list of potential headliners. The CEB later circulated A Qualtrics poll, asking for student preferences on the choice of the artist.

From there, Robertson wrote that narrowing down the list consisted of making sure the artist was in line with the CEB’s mission to “create an inclusive event for all undergraduates,” as well as “maximizing the value of the artist for our budget.”

The CEB originally planned to announce the headliner before Friday’s Battle for Yardfest, a competition to declare student group openers at Yardfest, so that student artists would “know who they’re competing to play before at Yardfest,” Roberts wrote.

Nevertheless, five prospective student bands and one musician competed to open for the unknown artist in front of a crowded Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub.

“It’s kind of weird,” Scott W. Peters ’16, a member of the band Protein Shake, said. The student group, along with the band the Lighthouse Keepers, will open at Yardfest after winning by popular vote at Battle for Yardfest.

“It doesn’t really matter who it is to us though,” Peters said. “It’ll be a really cool experience to open for an established, professional musician regardless. So we’re looking forward to the announcement, to see who it is.”

–Staff Writer Derek G. Xiao can be reached at derek.xiao@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @derekgxiao.

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