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.

Comments