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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Roots of Spring at UMB

Cover by Conor Napier
Cover by Conor Napier

The time has come for countless universities all across the nation to partake in the time-honored tradition of the college spring concert, usually occurring shortly before the end of the spring term. Beginning last year, UMass Boston became one of the universities recognizing the tradition with the popular rap artist, Kanye West. To create an annual practice, the school has booked another celebrated hip-hop group to play a show.

The Roots will be performing May 16, the last day of scheduled classes. The show is planned to begin at 7:30 p.m. with opening act Asian rap artist Lyrics Born. Located in the Clark Center, doors will open at 6 p.m. Tickets went on sale last week and can be purchased at Student Life for $15 for UMass Boston students, and $25 for all other public citizens.

UMass Boston has decided to “combine the end of the year student festival with the concert,” elaborates Kelly Meehan, special assistant to vice chancellor of student affairs. Games, climbing walls, obstacle courses and food will be available from 3-7 p.m. on the lawn in front of the Campus Center, followed by the musical performance.

While many other schools had their artists perform earlier in April, students may wonder why our concert happens to be so late, in fact three weeks later than last year’s. Assistant Dean of Students Joyce Morgan claims that UMass Boston had “typical issues” while trying to secure an artist.

Morgan illustrated the challenges in establishing all factors so the “stars aligned” and all variable aspects that play a crucial role in securing the perfect spring concert: finding an appropriate time for students, a location available at that time, along with an artist that is willing as well as obtainable. Once tentative plans were set, the school was still only able to finalize details within the past two weeks.

Other popular artists such as Paul Wall and Amy Winehouse were looked into for the seasoned concert, but were unattainable due to touring dates or other booking issues.

Colleges throughout the US have housed, or will house, performances from various artists from a wide variety of genres at some point during the last few weeks of their spring session.

Yellowcard played the University of California at Berkeley on the April 14, while hellogoodbye has yet to appear at Mount Holyoke, opting for a later performance the May 3. Third Eye Blind palyed at Boston College and Harvard just last week, and UMass Boston’s upcoming act The Roots, along with several other bands, including the Flaming Lips. performed at Brown University on April 20.

At last year’s spring concert, an audience of 3,000, consisting mostly of the college’s students, showed up at the Clark Center to enjoy the six-time Grammy winner, the UMass Boston website elaborates. West performed songs from two released albums titled somewhat ironically, “College Dropout” and “Late Registration.” One only hopes that he did not end the concert with the cliché “Be cool, stay in school.”

School officials say that they are securing artists and entertainment for next year already. Sara Travers is planned to perform next fall, and Alonzo Boden is set to do a show displaying his award-winning comedic talent as part of Colossal Comedy.

Also planned for next year is the Sweet Sound Series. Consisting of an array of 5 to 7 artists performing throughout the year, this line up is focused towards many students with varying musical tastes.

Administrators hope that the concert will enrich student life and the campus community. The university wants the event to add to a grad or undergrad’s fond memories of their alma mater. The performance may serve as an appropriate goodbye for graduating seniors, or a promise of good things to come for continuing undergraduates. No matter the personal attachment, and all are encouraged to come out and enjoy.