SA Exec. Director Catherine Aaronson says that this year’s festival will center around the concert and won’t include a week’s worth of set events as in past years.
Seniors, throw out your preconceived notions about what Springfest is supposed to look like. This year’s festival promises some unprecedented surprises.
Student Association Executive Director Catherine Aaronson explained that the main event for this year’s Springfest will consist of an on-campus concert, as usual. This year’s Springfest artists are indie pop group Smallpools and pop singer Bebe Rexha.
However, SA is introducing a pre-party, which will be held outside the Reynolds Center on the day of the concert — something that’s never been done before.
Aaronson said that SA plans to partner with the art department and local vendors to set up booths featuring student artwork and handmade products, similar to an art fair. Aaronson also hopes to include TU student Clara Ard’s brand, NeighborhoodBoy, and Red Bull in the event.
“We have some more surprises for that [event] in particular that will be revealed later on in the semester,” she explained, “so I can’t exactly disclose it now.”
Aaronson said this year’s Springfest is expected to consist mainly of the concert and pre-party and will not have set events every day of the week like it has in past years.
“There might be other things during the week,” she said. “We are just trying to keep a little bit of an air of mystery around Springfest still, so as the semester goes on, we’ll reveal more and more things.
“But no, it won’t be like it has in years past in the sense that there are set events every single day, because there isn’t really any overarching theme this year,” she concluded.
Aaronson wanted to experiment with the structure of Springfest because of the feedback she’d gotten from friends and fellow TU students throughout last year’s Springfest, as well as research she’d done on other universities that host similar festivals.
“I’ve been surrounded by this huge push towards focusing on concerts more, instead of the events. So it’s kind of an experimental year. I fully intend on releasing a survey when I’m done so students can give their input on how much they liked this year, because it’s very different and very new,” Aaronson said.
She added, “I’m really excited about it, and so far we’ve had a really positive response.”
Aaronson explained that while her number one priority is to provide a great event for students, she also hopes the concert will interest people in the Tulsa area, from high school students who might be considering attending TU and students from neighboring universities who have friends at TU. “I just wanted to make it as inclusive of an event, and inclusive music type, as possible,” she said.
While the Springfest artist is chosen based on scheduling and budget constraints, the committee also sent out a genre survey to students last fall in order to gauge where student interest lay. They then worked with a liaison to determine the most feasible option.
Aaronson commented that the headliner, Bebe Rexha, has been featured in every genre from country to rap to pop. “We thought she’d be able to appeal to a large range of people.”
While the committee booked the artists over winter break, Aaronson began brainstorming for Springfest last summer. Her favorite part of the planning process has been working with her team of four associate directors.
“We actually have three freshmen and one senior, so it’s really diverse. First of all, Darian is a senior and she’s seen three other Springfests … I’ve only seen one. So she has a really excellent insight to things,” Aaronson said. “And then the three freshmen bring really fresh perspectives to things.
“So it’s a really great mix of opinions and ideas,” she concluded.
Aaronson also loved the Springfest concert reveal, which took place during halftime at the February 1 basketball game.
“Getting to see the student body’s reaction to something that we had been working on for so many months and had to keep a secret for so many months was an amazing feeling,” she said.
Though there isn’t an official theme this year, Aaronson said that her team has been following the slogan, “It’s a Springfest 2.0.”
“That’s what we’re trying to go for. We are changing things up,” she said.
With this in mind, keep an eye out for Springfest developments as the semester continues. The Bebe Rexha and Smallpools concert is scheduled for April 19 at 8 p.m. in the Reynolds Center. Admission to the Springfest concert is, as always, free with a TU student ID.