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Aminé and Trevor Daniel ‘Rock Out’ at First-Ever Virtual Yardfest

Students dance during the last in-person version of Yardfest, held in Harvard Yard in 2019. This year's version, headlined by Aminé and Trevor Daniel, took place virtually.
Students dance during the last in-person version of Yardfest, held in Harvard Yard in 2019. This year's version, headlined by Aminé and Trevor Daniel, took place virtually. By Michelle H. Aye

Music artists Aminé and Trevor Daniel starred in Harvard’s first-ever virtual Yardfest on Friday, the latest College tradition shifted online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Make some motherfucking noise for yourselves,” Aminé told a virtual audience of Harvard undergraduates during the latest iteration of the College’s annual spring music festival.

Friday’s concert, live-streamed on Vimeo, marked the first Yardfest since 2019. Last year, Harvard canceled the event — which is hosted annually by the College Events Board and usually takes place in Harvard Yard — due to Covid-19.

Past Yardfest headliners have included singer Bazzi, rappers Lil Yachty and Wale, and DJ Tiësto.

Rapper Aminé, the concert’s headliner, performed several of his songs — including “Riri,” “Shimmy,” and “Woodlawn” — from an undisclosed studio.

In between songs, Aminé narrated what his concerts would look like before the coronavirus pandemic shut down large events indefinitely.

“This is the part of the show where I tell you guys, ‘You’re beautiful,’ and then you say, ‘I know,’” he said. “There’s hella adrenaline in the room — I might even jump in the crowd, say what’s up to you, FaceTime your mom, something like that.”

“But right now we can’t, so I hope you’re doing well in your dorm room or your apartment,” he told students watching.

Daniel, a singer and songwriter, performed songs backed by a drummer and guitarist including “Past Life” and “Falling” — which peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2020 — from his debut album “Nicotine.”

“We’re here to rock out,” Daniel said as his set began. “We’re your professors today.”

The virtual concert opened with recorded performances from two student acts, the Yard Bops and King Sayg, who won the “Battle for Yardfest” competition last month.

Yard Bops, a group of student musicians, kicked off the show with a mashup of Bruno Mars songs “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Runaway Baby,” and “Treasure.” Rapper King Sayg — Mario O. “Rio” Haskett Jr. ’21 — took the virtual stage next to perform his set.

Manny A. Yepes ’24, a Crimson Blog editor, said the student performances were his favorite part of the event.

Logan C. Kelly ’24 wrote in a message that though Yardfest was a “fun distraction,” the online format was less engaging than an in-person show. He added that many of his friends were unaware Yardfest was even taking place this year.

“It was great to see Harvard students having fun and jamming out on screen, and it was cool to have Aminé perform for us, but we spent more time talking about the concert than watching,” Kelly wrote.

Nicholas E. Kelly ’23, director for the College Events Board’s arts and entertainment committee, wrote in an email that the organization began planning for this year’s Yardfest a year ago.

“We started planning Yardfest back around April of 2020, and have been using the past year to diligently work on the show,” he wrote. “It seems that the show was received well across the student body.”

Under the circumstances, Yepes said he enjoyed the virtual event.

“It was the best they could have done with what they had,” he said. “I was alone at the time because I’m home right now, but if I was with friends, it definitely would have been more fun.”

CORRECTION: May 6, 2021

A previous version of this article misspelled the stage name of Mario O. “Rio” Haskett Jr. ’21. It is King Sayg, not Sage.

—Staff writer Alex M. Koller can be reached at alex.koller@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexmkoller.

—Staff writer Taylor C. Peterman can be reached at taylor.peterman@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @taylorcpeterman.

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