Ludacris, Ben Folds to play

The Yale College Council has chosen two acts — Ben Folds and Ludacris — to headline this year’s Spring Fling on Tuesday, April 25, Yale Student Activities Committee chair Jackie Carter ’07 said.

Spring Fling Committee co-chair Katie Allen ’07 said the two performers were the top picks in a schoolwide poll administered on YaleStation last semester. Students said they are excited about the show — which will be held on Old Campus — and are generally pleased with the choice of artists, whose performances will cost the YCC approximately $105,000.

“The survey decided everything,” Allen said. “Ben Folds and Ludacris dominated the poll, and that’s the reason why we pursued contracts with them.”

The YCC received confirmation regarding Ludacris’ performance Friday, while arrangements are expected to be finalized this week for Ben Folds’ appearance, YCC Treasurer Emery Choi ’07 said.

Spring Fling Committee co-chair Lauren Ezell ’07 said YSAC also considered Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, the Black Eyed Peas and Gavin Degraw.

Partly supported by funds raised through the Student Activities Fee, this year’s Spring Fling budget totals about $145,000 — up almost $50,000 from last year’s budget, Choi said. Without the additional funding, the Council would not have been able to consider hiring two acts of this caliber, he said.

“It propelled us into an entirely different level of talent we were able to consider,” Choi said.

YCC representatives declined to say how much each artist will cost. Last year the YCC spent a total of $99,981 on Spring Fling.

Singer-songwriter Ben Folds gained popularity as the frontman and pianist for the indie-rock trio Ben Folds Five before going solo after the group’s breakup in 2000. His most recent album, “Songs For Silverman,” was released in 2005. His next album, featuring the popular single “Landed,” is scheduled for release the day after Spring Fling.

Rap superstar Ludacris, hailed as a “household name and multi-millionaire rap mogul” by Rolling Stone, will be releasing his sixth solo album this year, titled “Release Therapy.” Ludacris, born Christopher Bridges, also appeared in the 2004 film “Crash,” which won three Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture.

“These are two artists that are poised to have lucrative years which will inflate their level of celebrity,” Ezell said. “We are incredibly lucky to have them on campus at this point in their careers.”

Allen said the committee chose to begin the concert in the evening because last year’s evening performance was well received by students. Ben Folds will begin performing at around 5 p.m., Choi said.

“We had very positive feedback about having the event later in the day,” Allen said. “Students said it created more of a concert feel.”

Many students said they are pleased with this year’s Spring Fling choices.

Lulu Cheng ’08 said that while she is not personally fond of either artist, she thinks the two are good choices for Yale students. She said she thinks that Ben Folds will appeal to Yale’s many indie-rock fans, and that Ludacris will provide a particularly high-profile act at the show.

“We have all this money, and it’s about time we get someone in here who has a big name and a lot of people know,” Cheng said. “[Ludacris] is more of a big deal than bands we have had.”

Henry Agnew ’09 said he thinks Ben Folds’ mellow sound and Ludacris’ party music will be a good mix for Spring Fling. He said he thinks the choices will be popular.

“I think Ben Folds is one of the people I voted for, so that’s pretty cool,” Agnew said. “I think Ludacris will make a lot of people happy.”

Some other schools have also announced their spring concert headliners. The University of Pennsylvania has landed O.A.R. and Scratch Track, and Brown University will host Wilco in April.

Last year’s Spring Fling featured The Shins, O.A.R. and Rahzel. Other past Spring Fling performers have included Third Eye Blind, Wilco, Nappy Roots, Guster and Ben Harper.

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