Worthstock Weekend ’16 arrives amid confusion

During this upcoming weekend the college will host Worthstock Weekend ‘16, this year’s iteration of the annual spring celebration featuring music, food, and overwhelming relief for the end of classes.

Worthstock Weekend ‘16 will take place from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Friday night, as well as from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Friday will feature music courtesy of DJs, Jack O’C ‘17, Nika Kravitz, and EKALI accompanied by snacks. There will also be an LSE PreParty on Friday hosted by Kitao including student bands, s’mores, the work of junior studio art majors, and the new issue of Small Craft Warnings. On Sunday, Tory Lanez will be headlining Worthstock, preceded by four student bands who performed at the Battle of Bands. Altair, Honey Pickup, and Funk the Patriarchy will be performing, along with champions of the Battle of the Bands, GOODGOODNOTBAD.

“We’re pumped,” said Stefan Laos ’17, the drummer of GOODGOODNOTBAD, on their impending performance.

“[The win] was a band effort,” said Sam Wallach-Hanson ’18, who plays saxophone for GOODGOODNOTBAD and Funk the Patriarchy.  “I think it had a lot to do with the crowd. We’re such an energy based band, and when the crowd’s energy is good, we play infinitely better.”

The members of GOODGOODNOTBAD announced that they’ll add two covers of popular songs to their normal set of freestyle rap over instrumental jazz and one of them will include Desta Pulley ’17, the sister of vocalist Tiyé Pulley ’19. Additionally, the band has added James Wallace-Lee ’17, the keyboardist for Funk the Patriarchy, to their lineup and will also play a few songs with Christine Emery ’16, who plays horn as a part of Funk the Patriarchy.

Unfortunately, this year’s Worthstock has been the subject of much confusion and frustration in recent weeks. For the past several months, there has been a prevalent rumor around campus that the headlining act for Worthstock would be popular Atlanta hip hop duo Rae Sremmurd and that there would be no LSE.

Instead, it was announced on Monday that there would be an LSE, with the performers to be announced Tuesday, three days before they are slated to perform. The announcement of the DJs performing at LSE provoked some confusion and negative response from the student body, as many students were unfamiliar with the artists. An anonymous source on the Worthstock committee explained the committee’s process.

“Nika Kravitz and EKALI are talented DJs and electronic music producers. They may not have recognizable names outside of their genre, but I think a lot of people who have an interest in electronic music, beyond top 40 hits, are very excited to see them both live,” said the source.

The source went on to clarify that the name “LSE” is a relic of past times, when the majority of the budget was not devoted to the Sunday afternoon performer.

Much of the negative response from the student body was centered around the unexpected change in headliner. The rumor about Rae Sremmurd performing was widespread to the point where many students assumed it to be fact. Much of the drama played out over YikYak, the college’s performed forum for anonymous online gripes. On Monday night, as the result of the lack of an announcement from OSE, an anonymous student held an impromptu Q&A. After the announcement that the headliner would be Tory Lanez, YikYak exploded with complaints from a wide variety of displeased students. The app saw finger pointing between OSE interns and Worthstock committee members as well as allegations that the source of the problem was Rae Sremmurd’s management, who allegedly sent the college incorrect payment info, leading to a deposit going into a wrong account.

The Phoenix’s anonymous source explained that Rae Sremmurd was, in fact, supposed to headline Worthstock but that even the members of the Worthstock committee were largely kept in the dark regarding contract negotiations.

“About a month ago, the committee decided that Rae should be our primary target for a headliner. We communicated this to the administrators working with us to organize the event. The process was out of our hands after that because students are not allowed to talk with artists’ agents or be involved in contract negotiations,” said the source. “So we waited week after week while the administrators worked with Rae’s agent. At one point we were told that the deal was basically finalized and that we could announce after sending an initial deposit to Rae. However, the administrators never gave us word that this deposit went through. Yesterday, during our meeting, they announced that Rae wasn’t happening, with the only explanation being that ‘the contract didn’t happen.’”

An anonymous source within the OSE revealed that the issues in contract negotiation were, in fact, with Rae Sremmurd’s management, who were taking a while to get back to the college. Additionally, Rae Sreummurd’s management was apparently not satisfied with some terms of the contract, other than the price.

This information was clearly not shared with the Phoenix’s source on the Worthstock committee, explaining some of the tensions between OSE interns and committee members. The source expressed regret that the committee members were not allowed to be more involved in the process.

“I still have no idea what went wrong. It’s unfortunate that the administration doesn’t trust students with these details; I think that many students on the committee feel like we were treated like children throughout the process,” they said.

However, the source on the committee also did confirm that Tory Lanez was always on the shortlist for headlining artists.

“Our current headliner was on our shortlist of artists for a while, so when Rae didn’t work out he was the next artist on the list. The administration contacted his agent and negotiated a deal within a 24 hour period, which is quite remarkable this late in the process,” they said. “He is a really talented artist that not many people know about. He’s worked with some crazy talented producers like RL Grime and Snakehips, he made Complex’s Artists to Watch in 2016 list, and he’s headlining a European tour this summer.”

Additionally, there are other events planned for Sunday, including inflatables and food trucks. The reason for these events not being clearly publicized at this point is unclear, however the source was able to shed some light on the activities and explain the lack of activities on Saturday.

“There’s going to be a ton of activities on Worthstock Sunday. We’ve ordered a ton of inflatable slides, obstacle courses, and games that will take place on Mertz field and there’s going to be food trucks, other food, and water available all day in Worth Courtyard,” they said. Saturday is going to be quiet; the academic departments requested that no events be scheduled because of senior capstones and other academic events.”

The Phoenix attempted to reach out to Office of Student Engagement staff for comment on the changes to the weekend’s events and lineup, but Coordinator of Student Activities and Leadership Carl Starkey only commented on the time frame for events on Friday and Sunday and did not offer any information about contract negotiations.

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