Springfest: A history

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By Matt Olson

The weather is warming up. West beach is full of sunbathers and Frisbee players. At Union, Springfest is in the air.

This weekend, hundreds of students will place their midterm crises behind them and partake in activities, events, and the much-anticipated concert on West beach.

Although the title “Springfest” has not been in use for long, the idea of having a campus-wide celebration has a long-running tradition. “Camp Union” began in 1979 as a way to bring the campus together, and was held on Memorial Day weekend 1979. It had a similar format as the Springfest known today. Camp Union was discontinued in 1989, but was brought back by President Roger Hull in May 1992 with headlining bands Squeeze, Nirvana and NRBQ.

In 1993, Union held their First Annual Carnival, which featured a barbecue, activities and music. It was another year in which Camp Union was not held, but the sense of social community remained with an annual spring gathering of Union students and community members.

After 1993, Springfest began its tenure as Union’s premiere spring event.

Springfest, as currently known around the Union campus, began in 1994, headlined by a Battle of the Bands competition won by Your Mamma.

From that year on, Union has played host to a weekend full of music and activities.

The headline event of the weekend always seems to be the concert, which in the past has featured diverse talents.

In 2003, Everclear came to campus, 2009 brought Sean Kingston and 2010 saw J. Cole arrive to campus. And, just last year, Neon Trees.

Strangefolk headlined the 1999 Springfest celebration with a Concordiensis headline “Union parties like it’s 1999.” During that weekend, there was a jousting competition and also a Gyro, which was the headline game of the event.

It was a “circular machine [that] mimics a gravity-free environment.”

The one thing that can take away from the experience is inclement weather. In 2006, when Common came to campus, the Concordiensis headline read, “Students sound off on ‘un-Common’ Springfest.” The overwhelming consensus was that the day was already worse off than other years because the entire venue had to be held indoors. But that still did not take away from the campus coming together to celebrate the most anticipated event on campus.

Springfest 2012 is set to kick off the final month of the term here at Union. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t rain.

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