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Jessie J To Headline Yardfest During Visitas Weekend

Janelle Monae performs “Dance Apocalyptic” from her 2013 Electric Lady album at Yardfest, the College's annual spring concert held in Tercentenary Theater on Sunday evening.
Janelle Monae performs “Dance Apocalyptic” from her 2013 Electric Lady album at Yardfest, the College's annual spring concert held in Tercentenary Theater on Sunday evening.
By Jalin P. Cunningham, Crimson Staff Writer

UPDATED: March 25, 2015, at 8:57 p.m.

British pop artist Jessie J will headline this year’s Yardfest, the College’s outdoor music concert scheduled for April 24, the Friday of Visitas weekend.

The College Events Board, responsible for planning the event, announced the news via their website at noon on Wednesday. The online announcement featured a mash-up of Jessie J video clips that was set to one of the artist’s most popular songs, “Bang Bang.”

Students at Yardfest 2014.
Students at Yardfest 2014. By Shunella Grace Lumas

According to Dakota D. Santana-Grace ’16, College Events Board co-chair, Jessie J was the Board’s top choice during its artist selection process. He said the group is thrilled to welcome her to campus in April.

Yardfest will take place on a Friday this year, unlike some previous years, when the concert was held on Saturday or Sunday. The event also takes place the same weekend as Visitas, the College’s visiting weekend program for accepted students.

This year's unorthodox scheduling is mainly a result of Jessie J’s performance schedule, according to Santana-Grace. He added that while the CEB is cognizant of the potential conflict with Visitas programming, the visiting weekend does not officially begin until the day after the concert.

The 26-year-old pop star first topped charts in the United States with her song “Price Tag,” and since then has peaked at No. 6 on Billboard’s “Hot 100” record chart with her song “Domino." She has collaborated with numerous other artists throughout her career, including Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Taio Cruz, David Guetta, and Queen.

Jessie J will also headline Spring Fling at Yale on April 25, the day after Harvard's Yardfest.

Last year, R&B and soul artist Janelle Monáe headlined the concert, and in 2013, rap and hip-hop artist Tyga was the headlining performer. The CEB’s selection of Tyga sparked controversy from various students who criticized his music's lyrics as “misogynistic." In response, the Office of Student Life requested Yardfest organizers to reconsider the choice, though Tyga still performed in the show.

Janelle Monae performs at Yardfest 2014.
Janelle Monae performs at Yardfest 2014. By Shunella Grace Lumas

This year, students said they look forward to Jessie J’s performance.

“She's supposed to be a phenomenal live act, and I think she'll bring great energy to Yardfest 2015,” Holly W. Breuer ’18 said. Breuer is a member of the CEB’s artist selection committee.

Two student groups will open for Jessie J, according to Breuer. Auditions for student openers will take place in Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub on Friday.

—Staff writer Jalin P. Cunningham can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @JalinCunningham.

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