Los Angeles-based rapper Dom Kennedy will perform at Rush Gymnasium for this year’s highly-anticipated Springfest concert April 9. Occidental student John Drumright (junior) will be opening the show with a DJ set, followed by up and coming local singer/rapper Marc E. Bassy.
After taking into account the feedback from Fallfest and their limited budget, members of Programming Board decided that this year’s Springfest will focus a greater variety of performers, rather than just one headliner. Manager Kylie Teller claims the acts have been impressive but singular and the show time minimal.
“A lot of people have been saying that they want a longer show. They don’t want just an hour or 45 minutes,” Teller said. “After a couple meetings with Senate, we decided it would benefit the student body as a whole if we were given a little more to our budget to be able to work with two openers.”
Teller and Programming Board attempted to solve this issue by hiring three different local acts (Kennedy, Bassy and Drumright) to perform for an hour each, with each artist bringing a different type of sound to the concert.
“I think it will be nice to do the combination of Mark and Dom just because their sounds are so different,” Teller said. “Hopefully it will bring out even more people than usual.”
While Teller acknowledged that previous female headliners Tinashe and Kehlani were successes, she noted that bringing in a male artist is an easy way to mix things up following the similar styles of Tinashe and Kehlani. And despite Springfest’s history of having male hip-hop artists, Teller said the positive reception to the headliner announcement has convinced her that Kennedy is someone the Occidental community can rally around.
Dom Kennedy is an independent artist who has refused record deals in favor of his own label, The Other People’s Money Company. His latest album, “By Dom Kennedy,” was released June 2 to positive reception, debuting at number 23 on the Billboard 200 Chart. His previous album “Get Home Safely” was ranked as the number 12 best hip-hop album of 2013 by XXL Magazine, and his song “My Type of Party” made Complex Magazine’s “Best 50 Songs of 2012” list. He also recently appeared twice on Casey Veggie’s debut album as a featured artist.
According to Vince Jones (senior), a member of both the event staff and artist search committee for Programming Board, Kennedy is an artist he’s heard requested many times over.
“With Dom being LA-based, I know people in the past have been like ‘Oh yeah, that would be cool if Dom could come’ or ‘I love Dom Kennedy,’” Jones said. “So when we were brainstorming artists, I was like ‘Oh wait, I know people on campus like Dom, let’s see if we can get him.’”
Teller and James agreed that aside from budget restrictions, finding a well known artist that wasn’t a one-hit wonder was difficult with Coachella just around the corner. Eventually, they narrowed down the list to Kennedy, Goldlink and Raury.
“The plan was to get Raury or Goldlink, because they were both the same price, but Raury was out of town,” James said.
Opener Mark E. Bassy will perform songs off of his debut EP “East Hollywood” before Kennedy takes the stage. Bassy recently started his solo career after splitting from his band 2AM Club and adds a unique spin to his music by switching between singing and rapping. He was also nominated for the final spot in XXL’s Freshman Class of 2016, an annual series that highlights 10 of the best up and coming hip-hop artists.
But before the show starts, Teller encourages everyone to go the pre-show, which will be held on Weingart Lawn this year.
“We’ve got a lot of student performers working with KOXY to put on some entertainment throughout the day. It does kinda of feel like a music festival,” Teller said. “There’s food trucks and inflatables. We’re just trying to make it a nice fun day for everyone.”