All-Campus Entertainment (ACE) hosted its first Spring Festival on Saturday in conjunction with the Residential Life Team (RLT) and WCFM, the College’s student-run radio station. The outdoor event took place on Falk Science Quad and featured a battle of the band competition with performances by student bands, a live show by cover band Jimmy and the Hat Tricks, free food trucks, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream stand and inflatables. Games.
For the past few years, ACE and RLT have held an annual Spring Fling performance, which was a campus-wide concert with a professional headlining artist. This year, due to the ongoing pandemic, ACE was unable to hold the same event, which has not taken place since rapper and songwriter Princess Nokia performed at Towne Field House in 2019.
ACE co-president Gaston Aime ’23 announced that ACE would not be holding Spring Fling in a campus-wide email on March 8. “Last semester we were unable to sign any artist contracts due to uncertainty regarding COVID restrictions in the spring,” he wrote. “Williams’ Covid policy had not been set in stone at the time, and we were unable to determine whether visitors (such as performers) or large gatherings would be permitted, hence the absence of Spring Fling.”
The financial risk that booking an artist would have posed given the fall COVID restrictions was also a factor in ACE’s decision-making process, ACE Treasurer Will Ding ’24 explained. Given the easing of COVID restrictions this spring, Ding said, the ACE Board of Directors — led by two interim co-chairs appointed by the previous board — determined that a live music event in outdoors would still be possible. “We had spoken to a few artists, but if we signed contracts and they couldn’t come, the downfall would be on us – the lost money would be on us,” he said. “There was nothing we could do about it.”
However, ACE and RLT still wanted to host a music event for the spring, according to Kendra Brenya ’22, Residential Manager (RD) for Greylock Quad. As RD, Brenya is responsible for planning and funding campus-wide events such as Williams After Dark, a program that hosts nightly events. “As we couldn’t bring in an outside artist this year, RLT reached out to ACE to see if we could collaborate on a music event with a focus on student musicians,” she wrote in an email. to Record. “ACE was already involved with WCFM, so the three [groups] collaborated throughout the process.
Despite switching from a headlining performer—which was a staple of previous Spring Fling events—to student groups at the Spring Festival, the students instead enjoyed seeing their peers perform on stage. “It’s nice to see your classmates on stage,” said Isaac Leslie ’25, who attended the Spring Festival. “Judging by the good turnout, it seems there is real interest… [and] I think in the future we can definitely do something like this again.
The option to hold the Spring Festival outdoors, Ding added, allowed ACE to plan despite looming uncertainties with COVID cases and evolving restrictions. “In the spring, we noticed that with the easing of COVID restrictions, we could actually put something on,” Ding said. “We have decided [that] it would probably be better outside if there was another change and restrictions, and we opted for the outside site.
Shenba Vairavan ’24, who also attended the event, suggested that using outdoor venues for future events could allow students other opportunities to congregate despite the potential for fluctuating COVID cases at the facility. coming. “I think being able to plan things outdoors, which is one of the big things we’ve learned in COVID, is going to help us create more fun outdoor events,” she said.
ACE funded the Spring Festival primarily from the general entertainment portion of its budget. Most Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) receive their funding from designated areas of the Facilitator Budget for Student Tax Allocation (FAST). For example, all club teams tap into the FAST Club Sports and Competitive Teams sector. But ACE, Ding explained, has its own separate FAST allocation — about $86,000 dedicated exclusively to RSO in the 2021-22 academic year — which gives ACE more financial independence to plan large-scale events. .
Essence Perry ’22, a general representative for FAST, explained that the annual lump sum that FAST gives to ACE allows the group to spend money without seeking financial approval for individual expenses. “I think the coolest part of FAST [and] The ACE relationship is that we give them a large amount of money at the start of the year, and they give us a rough budget of what they might spend,” she said. “But ultimately, ACE can allocate money to events it deems best for campus. They [ran] all spring budget components [Festival].”
ACE’s funding from FAST was supplemented by funding secured by RLT, according to Brenya. “RLT’s involvement in Spring [Festival] was funded by the RLT funds administered to us by OCL,” she said. “Each area on campus has a set amount of money they can use for different types of events, so I used some of the funds allocated to my area to contribute to the overall event.” RLT also helped provide volunteers to ensure the day’s events ran smoothly, according to Brenya.
While Spring Fling was organized by ACE and RLT, Ding said WCFM was involved this year for Spring Festival to help with the logistics of setting up the musical elements of the event, such as contacting artists and attracting a following. large crowd. Ding cited Coverchella, an event recently organized by WCFM, as an example of the club holding live music events.
Lily Goldberg ’22, WCFM’s Events Coordinator, performed as a vocalist with student band Duke and the Flukes, one of three bands to compete in the College Battle of the Bands. Goldberg was a freshman at the last Spring Fling, which took place in 2019, and offered a point of comparison between the two events. “Personally, I was a bit surprised when I heard about the cover band, just because it didn’t fit the tradition,” she said. “But I think people had fun, even if it was just different.”
Brenya said she was happy that the students enjoyed the Spring Festival. “This was the first time in my tenure here that RLT and ACE have collaborated on such a significant and successful event, so I could definitely see us continuing a relationship like this,” she wrote. “There are a lot of amazing student groups on campus, but I think the RLT and ACE have access to the biggest funds and experience catering to large audiences, so that would be great to pool our resources and plan more events like this in the future.”