By Michael Sugerman, Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 23, 2014
After months of negotiations and contract edits, MUSIC Matters has finally chained down the headlining artist for its year-end concert. This guy is different — yeah, he’s different. And he’s ready to perform.
2 Chainz will grace the Hill Auditorium stage April 10 to close MUSIC Matters’ capstone event, SpringFest.
Engineering senior Shankara Bharadwaj, the chair of MUSIC Matters’ Talent and Concert Committee, said he thinks 2 Chainz is at the peak of his career, which makes him a hot acquisition as a musical guest.
“Three Grammy nominations, invited to all the major summer festivals … there’s a reason why we worked so hard to get him here,” Bharadwaj said. “He brings a lot of energy; the Michigan student body is known to have a lot of energy. So it should be a marriage, really.”
LSA senior Phil Schermer, MUSIC Matters President, said hiring 2 Chainz is the icing on the cake that has been expanding this year’s SpringFest into an all-encompassing showcase of student achievement.
This year, the organization is rethinking SpringFest to resemble South by Southwest, the 10-day spring festival in Austin that is a hub for music, film and technology.
“What we’re doing in the afternoon at SpringFest is going to be so big,” he said. “It’s not going to be like anything anyone has seen on campus before.”
The revamped event will stretch from the Diag to North University Avenue. Its tentative layout will include a central “globe,” an open area and stage that will feature a hodgepodge of guest speakers and food throughout the day, Schermer said.
Extending from the globe will be sections arranged by five general themes: arts, identity, innovation, social justice and sustainability. Schermer added that since the unveiling of this new structure in January, the event has been growing exponentially, with more clubs signing up each week to participate.
Because of the large changes, the capstone concert will be in Hill Auditorium for the third straight year, rather than moving to a larger venue, Bharadwaj said. MUSIC Matters had formerly been considering Yost Ice Arena and the Crisler Center among other venues.
“We just want to perfect the formula that we’ve been working on and really do a good thing with SpringFest,” Bharadwaj said. “We felt at the moment that we didn’t want to stretch ourselves too thin by expanding to a new location. That just comes with a whole new logistics plan.”
Bharadwaj added that solidifying SpringFest’s standard operating procedures this year will make it easier to change the musical venue in future years.
“It was about building the festival, as opposed to scaling the concert,” Schermer said.
MUSIC Matters will sell roughly 3,400 tickets for the show, proceeds from which will serve a dual purpose: supporting MUSIC Matters’ recently unveiled Big Thinkers scholarship and donating to a summer leadership camp for at-risk Detroit youth.
“The idea behind this is that, if we can expose these young kids to a campus environment while they’re young, by the time they’re 17 and 18 years old, the idea of college won’t be so foreign to them and it will be more a natural thing for them to experience,” said Business junior Darren Appel, MUSIC Matters vice president.
MUSIC Matters is also working with the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Center for Educational Outreach, the Office of Financial Aid and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to bring students from high schools throughout the state to SpringFest.
These students are set to attend admissions and financial aid workshops, eat lunch in the dorms and take part in the SpringFest events.
Overall, Schermer said, MUSIC Matters’ success in the three years since its conception is indicative of the University’s ability to facilitate student achievement.
“I do believe that SpringFest will get national attention, and that’s a testament to the team that is working on this and the ecosystem that we all are living within,” he said. “The sky’s the limit here.”
Correction appended: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Phil Shermer was a Business senior. He is an LSA senior.