Before Tiësto took the stage, openers Hello Cleveland and Kyle Ray, both comprised entirely of Harvard students, warmed up the audience at the College’s annual outdoor concert with covers and original compositions. Despite the weather and growing quantities of slippery mud, a dedicated group of concertgoers—several of whom brought signs—chanted their support for the opening acts.
Members of the ultimate frisbee team were at the concert early to support the three of their teammates in Hello Cleveland.
“Hello Cleveland is better than Tiësto,” Adam E. Ehrenberg ’18 said to enthusiastic agreement from the rest of the group, each wearing a light blue “Hello Cleveland” t-shirt.
“Who’s Tiësto?” interjected another fan sporting the t-shirt, to more laughter.
Tiësto, a Dutch dancehall DJ, has a long career in the electronic music industry. Since producing his first tracks in the 1990s, he has since gone on to headline multiple music festivals across the world, such as this past year’s Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Fla. After a delayed announcement from the College Events Board—which hosts Yardfest each year—students voiced mixed reactions about the CEB’s choice of headliner.
But on Friday, it was Tiësto’s set that was the main attraction for most concert-goers. As neon lights washed over the crowd, he yelled, “Are you ready?” before launching into a set of thumping remixes. Abstract graphics, interspersed with “TIЁSTO” in red block letters, flashed behind him as the crowd pulsed in time with the music.
Some students unfamiliar with Tiësto beforehand still screamed every time the bass dropped or a blast of smoke blew across the stage. His most well-known hits, “Red Lights” and “Wasted,” drew loud cheers as students danced along.
“I had not heard of him before, but I looked him up right before,” said Catherine L. Zhang ’19. “He’s the OG. He’s OG EDM.”
Many agreed that this was one of the better Yardfests in recent years.
“In my three years here, this has been the best Yardfest I have ever been a part of,” attendee Robert Rush ’18 said. “I came in looking to have a great amount of fun, and it exceeded my expectations.”
Although the weather had been a concern for some students, most found it did not detract from their experience and even added to the event.
“I love the rain because I think the light reflects so nicely off of it,” Christopher C. Higginson ’18 said.
Grant Besner, a sophomore at Duke University, agreed. “Rain or shine, sleet or hail, we are out here vibing.”
This year, Yardfest brought together undergraduates not just from Harvard but from all over the country. Even the distance and upcoming finals periods weren't enough to dissuade attendees.
Besner, visiting his girlfriend Zhang, said she insisted he join her for Yardfest. Besner said he did not regret his decision.
“Yardfest is not an event,” he said, “It’s a state of mind.”
—Staff writer Angela N. Fu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @angelanfu.
—Staff writer Dianne Lee can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @diannelee_.
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