Stark white and cardboard, it is fairly unassuming at first glance. However, my concert box contains evidence of my entire musical history, one that began with my dad teaching me to sing with Bob Dylan’s nasally twang at age four. There is a Coldplay concert stub, reminiscent of losing my concert virginity to the Viva la Vida tour in 2009. There are tickets and bracelets from five separate One Direction shows, a musical phase that my mom thought would have long ago ended. Ed Sheeran, Passion Pit, NEEDTOBREATH, a few strange hours spent watching Ray Lamontagne, and a weekend in rural Scotland at the infamous T in the Park Festival are all documented within the box.
A smaller version of this box now lies under my bed here at St. Lawrence. Here, the contents focus on the concerts to which I have a much different connection. It contains disposed-of guitar picks from the Atlas Genius guitarist, signed All-Access passes from Fallfest and Springfest concerts, and the memories of one of my favorite parts of my identity as a St. Lawrence student: ACE Co-Concert Chair. The Association for Campus Entertainment, more commonly and fondly referred to as ACE, is your one-stop shop for anything and everything entertainment at SLU. As a whole, we plan and execute all things entertainment on campus: from comedy shows to hot air balloons, exotic petting zoos to large-scale concerts. As the concert committee, we have the joyful responsibility of planning Fallfest and Springfest, St. Lawrence’s two largest concert events. And good news, Saints! It is officially the most wonderful time of the year. The snow has finally melted, the sun is shining, and Springfest has arrived.
What I have learned is that putting on Springfest is a lot like baking a really good cake (a task I happen to know quite a bit about): the key to a successful show is that it is made up of quality ingredients. If successful, you’ll never even know the specific contents that went in to its completion, only the phenomenal and delectable result. We see the show from its earliest phases to the final goodbyes: from working with an agent to decide on and book an act, to helping transform the stage back into a 18-wheeler truck and watching its departure from Canton after the last concert-goers have left the field and gone to bed.
One of my favorite parts of planning Springfest is seeing the camaraderie and excitement it creates that ripples through campus. It allows me to be a part of something so much bigger than myself, a feeling that is uniquely rewarding. During our last Fallfest concert, headlined by MisterWives and Atlas Genius, we stood in the side wings during the encore, and my heart felt as if it was going to burst out of my chest. The lead singer of MisterWives was covering “Dance with Somebody.” When she reached the first chorus, all members of ACE ran out onto the stage. I looked out over the crowd of St. Lawrence students, and felt a deep connection to the moment that I had helped to create. It reverberated through me, and I danced with no inhibitions in front of 1,000 other SLU students. It was not only one of my favorite SLU memories, but a moment of my life that I will never forget.
Fallfest and Springfest are a lot of work. By the end of each show I am grimy, exhausted, without a voice, and completely euphoric. The memories go into the box under my bed to be pulled out when I am feeling particularly nostalgic, remembered with proud reminiscence.