Students Sound Off on Tiësto for Yardfest Artist

UPDATED: April 20, 2017 at 1:19 a.m.

While some undergraduates said they were excited to learn that Dutch dance DJ Tiësto would headline Friday’s Yardfest, for others, the announcement only prompted the question: Tiësto who?

A Grammy-winning artist and producer known for his remixes of tracks including John Legend’s “All Of Me,” Tiësto has published five studio albums and headlined last year’s Ultra Music Festival in Miami.

Still, some Harvard students said that until Tuesday night, they did not know who Tiësto was. According to Google Trends, searches for “Tiësto” spiked in the Boston area around at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, around the time of the CEB’s announcement.

Steve Aoki's Yardfest Performance
Students cheer for then-headliner Steve Aoki at last year's Yardfest.
“My initial reaction was ‘who is this guy?’ I had never heard of him,” Chandler A. Brown ’19 said. “Then I looked him up, and I don’t know, I guess he seemed okay.”

Some objected to the choice of another electronic dance artist: DJ Steve Aoki headlined last year’s Yardfest, the College's annual outdoor concert, in Tercentenary Theatre.

“Unfortunately, I simply do not like house or EDM,” said Lorena Lyon ’18, who said she had never heard of Tiësto. “I guess I was disappointed that they chose another EDM artist two years in a row.”

Jenna M. Gray ’19, a Crimson magazine editor, also said she was “disappointed” by the chosen genre, given rumors that Chance the Rapper or another hip-hop artist would headline the event.

“Last year when I went, it was basically just a bunch of tall men jumping around against people, which is not my definition of fun,” she said, adding that she did not know who Tiësto was before the announcement, but the artist’s name reminded her of the word “Tostitos.”

Other students were more enthusiastic about Tiësto’s upcoming performance. Steffan B. Paul ’19, for one, said he “freaked out” when he heard rumors that Tiësto might be the Yardfest artist.

“When I heard that he was confirmed, I freaked out again,” Paul said. “I was definitely very excited, but one thing that annoys me is that people don’t understand how big of a deal he is.”

Paul also said it was “shortsighted” for students to be annoyed about having another EDM artist headline the concert.

“Out of all the EDM artists, he would have been the one that I preferred,” Paul said.

“Tiësto is so big that I didn’t think Harvard was going to be able to afford him.”

Manav J. Khandelwal ’19, who has seen Tiësto live, said that while not every student will like the artist, Tiësto will provide a “fun” and “high-energy” environment for the crowd.

“I think the purpose of the Yardfest committee is to get someone who can make as much of the student body happy as possible. While not everyone likes EDM, there is not one genre that more than half of the college student body will like,” he said. “I think the Yardfest committee did a good job of taking those things into account.”

Sienna R. Nielson ’19, a member of the student-run medical service CrimsonEMS, said that no matter the artist, she hoped others would enjoy the event responsibly.

“I hope that everyone is safe and that the other members of CrimsonEMS won’t have to do much that night,” said Nielsen.

—Staff writer William L. Wang can be reached at william.wang@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @wlwang20

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