T.I. to headline Spring Fling

The Yale Student Activities Committee has finalized contracts with three artists — T.I., Sister Hazel and The Format — who will perform at Spring Fling on Tuesday, May 1, Spring Fling co-Coordinator Diego Iturbe ’09 said Monday.

YSAC selected the acts, which will cost a total of $95,000, in an effort to put together a lineup that will be entertaining for students of diverse musical tastes, Iturbe said. He said this year’s total of three acts, compared with last year’s two, will enliven the show and give it a more concert-like feel.

“We feel that this year’s show should be a great success because it encompasses various musical genres and should create a high level of energy,” Iturbe said. “These performers are all unique, making for one well-rounded day of musical euphoria.”

At the beginning of the year, YSAC considered bringing Sean Paul to campus, Iturbe said, but the rapper had already committed to playing festivals in the Caribbean and Europe on the date set for Spring Fling. YSAC then turned to T.I. — who ranked near the top of a student poll conducted in the fall — to find a headlining act, he said.

“We looked at Sean Paul, who was the same price and similar genre as T.I., but he ended up not being available,” Iturbe said. “From then on we knew most hip-hop artists were either unavailable or out of our price range, and T.I. just seemed to be the perfect option. We were thrilled when he won two Grammys, so we decided to go for it.”

Born Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. in Atlanta, T.I. has released four rap albums, including the platinum “Urban Legend” in 2004 and “King,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, in 2006. He also starred in the 2006 film “ATL” and is launching his own clothing line sometime this spring.

Southern folk-rock group Sister Hazel earned national attention for its 1997 single “All for You.” Their most recent release, “Absolutely,” came out in 2006, and a sixth studio album is anticipated at the end of this year or in early 2008.

Arizona-based pop group The Format released its second album, “Dog Problems,” last year. Its first single, taken from 2003’s “EP,” was titled “First Single.”

This year’s acts will cost a combined $95,000 — $70,000 for T.I., $17,500 for Sister Hazel and $7,500 for The Format, Spring Fling co-Coordinator Carrie Nguyen ’09 said.

“The total cost of our event is $140,000, which is $10,000 less than last year’s Spring Fling,” she said. “We had a smaller budget this year, and yet we are bringing more acts and more diverse musical tastes.”

The $45,000 of the event’s budget not devoted to the artists will be spent on police and concert security officers, electricity and facilities charges, and production items such as lights, a stage and sound equipment, Nguyen said. In addition to money from the student activities fee, the Yale College Council/YSAC Spring Fling budget includes $50,000 from the President’s Office, $12,000 from the Yale College Dean’s Office and $3,000 from the Graduate School student government, she said.

“A few years ago, Spring Fling was a big event, but they used to have only $50,000 or $70,000,” Nguyen said. “Last year was the first year we had the student activities fee, which increased the budget dramatically, which is why are able to bring larger names.”

The show, which will take place on Old Campus, is scheduled to begin with The Format at 4:30 p.m., followed by Sister Hazel at 6:00 p.m. and T.I. at 7:30 p.m., she said.

Students had mixed reactions to the announcement of this year’s performers. Jared Enriquez ’07 said that while he likes T.I.’s music, he is not sure how well it will complement that of Sister Hazel or The Format.

“I personally like T.I., but I don’t know a lot of friends who like him,” Enriquez said. “I’m not sure how excited everyone is going to be … It’s kind of a strange assortment. I guess they are trying to cater to a lot of student interests.”

Steven Li ’10 said he is not familiar with the music of either T.I. or The Format but is excited that Sister Hazel will be coming to campus.

“The only one I listen to a lot is Sister Hazel,” he said. “That is one of my favorite artists … I have not seen them live, but from the sound of their music I think they would be pretty good in concert.”

Ben Folds and Ludacris performed at last year’s Spring Fling. In 2005, the show featured The Shins, O.A.R. and Rahzel.

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