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Yardfest 2012 Draws Lackluster Crowd

By Eliza M. Nguyen and Jane Seo, Crimson Staff Writers

When the three-man musical group Das Racist took the stage, overlooking the crowd of Harvard students gathered at YardFest in historic Tercentenary Theater, they offered a greeting that perhaps has not been yelled from the steps of Memorial Church before.

“What’s up, you drunk, overprivileged shits?”

Despite the sunny 70 degree weather, the concert—which featured The Nostalgics, 3LAU, and The Cataracs along with the brash members of Das Racist—was sparsely attended by students on Sunday.

Those who attended, many in bro tanks, soared on tire swings provided by the College Events Board, hit beach balls in the air, and hoisted each other on their shoulders.

“[Yardfest is] a great way to celebrate,” said Lowell House Master Diana L. Eck as she watched students from a distance. “We saw a few people pre-gaming, but that’s inevitable.”

Despite the festive atmosphere, many students complained about the performers at the annual spring concert.

“I think they could have gotten better-known artists,” said Kathleen Scout O’Beirne ’15, comparing YardFest unfavorably to spring concerts at other Ivy League schools such as Penn, where Tiesto and Passion Pit performed Friday.

Next weekend, T-Pain will headline at Yale’s Spring Fling, accompanied by Passion Pit and 3LAU.

Unsatisfied by their initial stereotyping of the Harvard audience, the members of Das Racist—Ashok “Dapwell” Kondabolu, Himanshu “Heems” K. Suri, and Victor “Kool A.D.” Vazquez—attempted to pump up the crowd by yelling, “All you white people make some noise.”

Freshmen who attended YardFest last year, when it fell during Visitas and reached an all-time-high attendance level, said they did not enjoy the concert as much this year.

“Last year people were raging,” O’Beirne said. “I would enjoy more dancing.”

Kimberly B. Johansson ’15 said that The Nostalgics, the student Motown band that opened the concert, was her favorite act. She said that she was not excited for the other bands because she was not familiar with their music.

Burton K. Mayer ’13, The Nostalgics’ drummer, said the band brought a different sound to this year’s “electro-heavy” artist line-up.

“We tried to pack in as much Motown as possible,” Mayer said.

Jackson F. Cashion ’13, another member of the band, added that he enjoyed playing for his peers.

“It was an incredible opportunity to perform for the entire student body at once,” Cashion said.

While listening to The Nostalgics, Adams House Master John G. “Sean” Palfrey ’67 said he came to YardFest to support Cashion, who is also co-chair of Adams House Committee.

Although Palfrey did not stay very long, he said he stopped by to say hello to students.

“This is where our people are,” Palfrey said.

Some students said they were more enthusiastic about after-parties than the concert.

While students were still dancing to the music of The Cataracs, maintenance crews and College Events Board members began cleaning up Tercentenary Theater.

“We have to put the Yard back together for tomorrow,” said Anthony J. Pacillo, the senior manager of Harvard Yard and freshman dormitories.

Along with students headed toward the continuation of their fun evenings and clean-up crews with a mind on finishing the work, some performers seemed to be in a hurry to end the show as well.

But the band played on. “We’re going to keep playing,” a member of Das Racist said during the group’s set. “Contractual obligation.”

—Staff writer Eliza M. Nguyen can be reached at enguyen@college.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Jane Seo can be reached at janeseo@college.harvard.edu.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: April 16

An earlier version of this article said that Tiesto and Passion Pit performed at Penn on Saturday. In fact, they performed on Friday.

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