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Steve Aoki To Headline Yardfest

By Derek G. Xiao, Crimson Staff Writer

The quiet church bells in Harvard Yard are not used to competing with internationally renowned electro dance DJs.

But next Sunday, that is just what will happen when artist Steve Aoki, best known for arena-rocking sets and a slew of chart toppers, headlines the College’s annual Yardfest concert.

The announcement, made by the College Events Board on its Facebook page and in a mock psychology survey sent over multiple House email lists, came after delays due to contract negotiations and brings to a halt weeks of speculation.

Yardfest Co-Chair M. Wyatt Robertson ’18 said the results of a preference survey distributed earlier in the year to students overwhelmingly indicated they wanted someone like Aoki.

“One of the main points that stood out on our survey was that students overwhelming wanted a high-energy artist, and that exactly fits Steve Aoki,” Robertson wrote in an email. “Because he's a DJ, he incorporates a wide variety of popular music into his music, so everyone will know at least some songs that he remixes or mashes up.”

Ahead of the CEB’s announcement, many students said they had already heard Steve Aoki’s name being tossed around as a likely headliner.

“It’s weird, because I heard it was going to be him a while ago, then I heard it wasn’t going to be him, and now apparently it is going to be him again,” Ambika Nohria ’19 said.

And while the selection of the popular DJ did not shock those who have been following the rumor mill, students still said they were excited by the choice of performer.

“I think it’ll be fun,” Nohria said of Aoki’s selection, “because his music is nice to listen to even if you’ve never heard it before—you can still enjoy it.”

“I’ve heard he’s an excellent DJ, so I’m really psyched out,” Vishal Jain ’19 added.

The Grammy-nominated artist—known as much for his high-flying antics and crowd-surfing stunts as his hit singles and popular remixes—has released several Billboard-charting studio albums, most notably Wonderland and Neon Future I and II. His remix of Kid Cudi’s song, “Pursuit of Happiness,” also provides the definitive song in popular movie Project X.

Steve Aoki’s performance will follow that of British pop musician Jessie J, who headlined the concert last year, R&B and soul artist Janelle Monáe the year before her, and rapper Tyga in 2013.

The CEB’s selection of Tyga was met with vocal backlash from student groups, who criticized what they said were misogynistic lyrics from the artist and called on the selection committee to reconsider their choice. At the onset of his performance, Tyga used choice language in addressing his “haters.”

Yardfest is scheduled for April 24 this year.

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