The spring semester at Wake Forest is marked by several events that students always look forward to: campus days, Springfest, Shag on the Mag and the spring concert.
On March 23, Student Union announced that the headliner for the spring concert would be DJ and singer gnash. The spring concert will be held on the Lower Quad at 7 p.m. on May 2, the last day of classes (LDOC). In addition to the concert, there will be a free cookout and a beer garden open to students of age, with a valid state ID card.
In light of the announcement, students communicated concern over the choice of the artist.
“I’ve never even heard of gnash,” said freshman Emily Beauchamp.
Gnash is an American DJ and singer, best known for his 2016 single, “i hate u, i love u” which features Olivia O’Brien, and for being the featured artist on MAX’s 2016 single “Lights Down Low.”
In the past few weeks, gnash has performed as the opening artist for All Time Low on The Last Young Renegades Tour: Part II. Between 2016 and 2017, he even headlined his own tour, The U, Me & Us Tour in North America.
Gnash’s appearance at Wake Forest’s spring concert will not be his first time performing for an audience of college students only. Last March, he performed at the spring concert at Chapman University, a private college in California.
Despite recent success, gnash is not as popular as previous spring concert headliners. In the past, the spring concert has featured musical artists such as rap duo Rae Sremmurd in 2017 and DJ duo The Chainsmokers in 2016.
The Cinema & Music Committee within Student Union works to research and bring in the musical acts for the spring concert. According to senior Alyssa Alpino, the chair of the committee responsible for headliners, they used results from a survey conducted last year to gauge students’ preferences regarding genre and possible artists. However, money also does play a factor.
“Ultimately, we must apply for concert funding through the Student Activity Fee (SAF), so funding makes a huge impact on who we are able to bring,” Alpino said. “Once we received our allotted dollar amount, we looked at our survey results for genre preferences, selected artists we thought students would like and checked to see if those artists were available.”
Further, the concert will be free for students, only requiring that students RSVP. Alpino said the accessibility of having the concert be free, as well as on-campus, will entice more students to attend.
Students, such as sophomore Jackson Cogar, have also expressed concerns over the lateness of the concert date with it being so close to finals.
“I think it’s a bad idea to put the spring concert on the last day of class,” Cogar said. “Ideally, it would be on a weekend not near finals, earlier in the semester.”
However, Alpino believes that having the concert is the best way to celebrate the end of the semester as a community.
“LDOC is a day when most students want to have some fun and take a break before exams start,” Alpino said.
“Student Union also wants to serve as many students as possible. Many students want to have some fun, which can boost our attendance, and allow our student body to come together as a community.”