Kingston, Roots, Jimmy split bill

Yale College Council and Yale Student Activities Committee officials announced Wednesday that three artists — Sean Kingston, The Roots and Jimmy Eat World — will “co-headline” this year’s Spring Fling, set for April 29.

“I think students will be pleased with the lineup this year,” YSAC Chairman Thomas Hsieh ’08 said. “We went in thinking we could get a much more diverse lineup. This is an actual show where you can enjoy each and every performance.”

Hsieh is a former production & design editor for the News.

Caribbean hip-hop artist Kingston will kick off the concert at 4:30 p.m., followed by alternative hip-hop/jam band The Roots at 5:35 and alternative rockers Jimmy Eat World at 7:05. Kingston will play 45 minutes, The Roots 75 and Jimmy Eat World 70.

The announcement ended a buzzing around campus about who would play the event, but it came as little surprise to many Elis — by the time students returned from spring break, rumors circulating in dining halls and library carrels had successfully identified all three artists as possible, even likely, performers.

Kingston, whose music is a blend of reggae and hip-hop, made history last August when his smash hit “Beautiful Girls” leapt to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, making him the first artist born in the 1990s to claim the spot.

“[Kingston] is up-and-coming, and he had a lot of No. 1 singles come out this year,” Spring Fling co-Chair Colin Leatherbury ’09 said. “It was a great move because he was really cheap and he’s the one that you actually hear on the radio when you go home.”

Kingston will be followed on stage by alternative hip-hop group The Roots, fresh off mid-April appearances at Purdue and Carnegie Mellon universities. The group’s 1999 album “Things Fall Apart” peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart that year.

“Looking at the acts, you’ll see they don’t solely define one genre,” Hsieh said. “A perfect example of that bridge was choosing The Roots. They’re sort of a mix — they have an actual band and not just a DJ playing a CD.”

Third up will be Jimmy Eat World, the Arizona-based alternative-rock phenomenon known for iconic singles “The Middle,” “Bleed American” and “Sweetness” — songs most students first heard on the morning drive to middle school.

“I’m hoping people remember their hit songs from the ’90s,” Leatherbury said. “There will be a lot of nostalgia. And because there will be a lot of energy all day, ending on a higher-energy rock band should work.”

The announcement comes at the end of a months-long search process. YSAC officials said they began discussing possible artists almost immediately upon their return to New Haven in September. Late in the first semester and again in January, YSAC followed up with a pair of campuswide surveys that sought to gauge students’ interest in various genres of artists. By February, YSAC had entered into contract negotiations with the three bands, although officials kept silent about exactly to whom they were talking, citing contractual conflicts.

On Wednesday, Hsieh and Leatherbury both demurred when asked how much YSAC would be paying for each act.

Contractual obligations preclude YSAC from releasing those figures, Leatherbury said. According to interviews with Leatherbury and Hsieh Wednesday evening, Jimmy Eat World will be the most expensive of the three acts, followed by The Roots and Sean Kingston.

But YSAC officials have said that the allocation of money among the different artists this year will be more equitable than last year, when rapper TI pocketed a cool $70,000 for 42 minutes of music, rock group Sister Hazel was paid $17,500 for its performance and opener indie-rock crew The Format played for just $7,500.

This year’s overall Fling budget is roughly the same size of that in 2007, when YSAC spent roughly $100,000 to sign artists and another $40,000 for set-up expenses.

Outside New Haven, the Harvard Crimson reported in February that singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw will likely come to Cambridge for Yardfest, Harvard’s equivalent of Spring Fling, and Cornell University has lined up Canadian rockers Hot Hot Heat and alternative hip-hop artists Gym Class Heroes to headline its annual Slope Day. That performance in Ithaca will follow one at the University of Pennsylvania’s Spring Fling, where Gym Class Heroes will play in a lineup that includes rapper Ludacris and rock group OK Go.


  • sharifa

    sean kingston is awful. not only does he produce bad music, but he is bar none the worst performer on the circuit today. i saw him for free and wanted my money back, thanks YCC. the other too acts are solid and will hopefully make up for kingston's sure to be poor showing.

  • Hieronymus

    Yalie continue their long tradition of choosing the derivative and less talented. It's usually a money thing, but one wonders why they can't cough up some undiscovered indie…

    I don't know if there has been a good act on campus since the U2 did Woolsey.

  • anon

    All male, as usual, no surprise.

  • Roots Fan

    The Roots are a really good group.

  • A.C.

    Forgive me if I don't take my music cues from someone who calls the band "the U2"

  • great

    The racist Roots are coming to town.

    What happened to the campus aversion to hate?

    I guess that only applies to minorities.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    I'm stoked and will be drinking heavily. Thanks for getting some heavy hitters this year.

  • Anonymous

    This is not a good lineup at all for an event like this. Sean Kingston has like 3 popular songs, The Roots aren't mainsteam enough, and Jimmy Eat World hasn't done much of anything in a while. Not good.

  • Anonymous

    Why? Jimmy Eat World we're decent eight years ago. Sean Kingston doesn't have an album out yet (who dear god is a big fan of Sean Kingston? Who can do more than barely sing along to 'beautiful girls'?)

    I support the choice of the roots… but would have been cooler a decade ago also.

    Is it not possible to get a HIP band for sixty grand??

  • Alum

    I'm an alum who lives in close proximity to Yale, and I have a child who enjoys Sean Kingston. Would my child and I be able to attend? Or is Spring Fling only for students currently in attendance. Please educate me. Thx.

  • THE ROOTS at Yale!!!!!!

    THE ROOOTS = AWESOME LIVE BAND - Yalies, whether you know them or not, will NOT be disappointed. They really KNOW how to put on a show.

    Sean Kingston however - I saw him for free in BK and I demanded a refund for my time and train ticket.

    Jimmy Eat World = a little dated but maybe they'll recognize it and try to compensate for their lack of relevance.

  • @Alum

    I would suggest bringing your child to Spring Fling as much as I would suggest taking him/her to a frat party that happened to hosting a Shakespeare poetry reading.

  • ysac'er

    each yale stud can bring a guest

  • The Roots

    THE ROOTS were the live House band tonight on Comedy Central's Night of Too Many Stars hosted by Jon Stewart!

  • Alum (#11)

    #13, thank you for the witty analogy.

    As one who does not (and did not while at Yale) use alcohol/chemical substances, I was, nevertheless, always able to party (where "partying" for me is defined as enjoying music, dancing, and appreciating the upbeat, festive atmosphere in which I choose to include myself).

    I am fortunate to always have been able to enjoy a party milieu COMPLETELY sober without pressure to sample anything, and neither adversely affected by nor judgmental of those around me.

    I would love for my child to also understand that partying and the enjoyment of a party atmosphere does not require any substance "enhancement", and that he doesn't have to follow anyone else's notion of what partying/having a fun time means. Even when those he might follow are Yale students.

    Yes, I'm sure there will be a few wild antics, but I can't imagine a scene so raucous and inappropriate that we wouldn't be able to enjoy ourselves in the wholesome way that I envision.

    Thanks though for your input.

    So how can we get in? :)

  • ctstarr

    Sean Kingston was great and i really enjoyed my front row view, his entourage, the songs, and we took a pic with him. i loved it