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The 10 Best College Spring Festivals

Ahh, spring. The sun’s out, flowers are blooming, and most collegiettes are eagerly awaiting taking a day off from studying to attend their school’s spring festival. And while we will admit that it’s difficult for an on-campus music festival to be anything other than awesome, we at HC wanted to find the colleges that take their spring festivals to the next level. With weekend-long extravaganzas, citywide concert series, and even some that allow participants to party for a good cause, we’ve gathered the cream of the crop in our top 10 spring festivals countdown. Check it out to see if your school made the cut!

10. Springfest at University of Southern California

Springfest at USC promises one thing: an unforgettable concert experience. With performers like Big Sean and Walk the Moon at this year’s show, along with enough glow sticks to illuminate the entire city of Los Angeles, Springfest is perfect for those who are into pounding beats and flashing lights. We would certainly expect nothing less from our festival lovers on the west coast, and based on this video from this season’s festival, we’d say Springfest definitely lives up to the hype.

9. Slope Day at Cornell University

While its wintry name may be misleading, Slope Day is actually Cornell students’ way of celebrating their liberation from schoolwork and the frigid northern winter. “Everyone meets on a big grassy hill in the middle of campus for a big concert on Slope Day,” explains HC Managing Editor and Cornell alumna Cara Sprunk. “It is the only ‘party’ that everyone from all different walks of life at Cornell attends… and it really feels like a reward for making it through a hard semester.” This year’s headliner is Kendrick Lamar, and given the event’s location in the middle of campus, even students just taking a library break can enjoy the music and relax in the sunny spring weather. 

8. Last Day of Classes (LDOC) at Duke University

For most of us, the final day of lectures usually includes making a finals week study schedule and not much else, so we’ve got to hand it to the Blue Devils for offering a day-long diversion to help their students celebrate the last day of classes. And we must admit, there is probably no better feeling than walking out of your hopelessly boring history class for the last time only to be greeted by a full blown, on-campus extravaganza. Duke’s LDOC brings in major musicians every year to celebrate another school year (almost) completed, and with college festival favorites Kendrick Lamar and Steve Akoi as headliners for this year’s show on April 24th, we’re sure LDOC 2013 surpassed all expectations.

7. Rites of Spring Music Festival at Vanderbilt University

Given Vanderbilt’s location in none other than Music City, it comes as no surprise that their Rites of Spring festival made our list. “Rites is more than just your annual two-day music festival. It’s the celebration of spring, the end of school… and a weekend unmatched by any other,” says Caroline Farkas, Vanderbilt student and contributing writer for HC Vanderbilt. With stars like Miguel and Mat Kearney performing for Rites this year, we’re sure this year’s show had something for all of the students at this iconic Nashville school. But what sets Rites apart from the rest of the spring concerts on this list is its backstory. The festival started after Vanderbilt opened its doors to Nashville residents who were interested in learning about music and its production. Because of its meaningful roots, Rites is still something that is appreciated by students and Nashville residents alike, making it a festival all can look forward to.

6. VEISHEA at Iowa State University

Once a year, ISU students from every one of the school’s original colleges, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Industrial Science, Home Economics, and Agriculture (or the much easier to remember acronym, VEISHEA), unite for a week of celebrating with parties, parades, and countless concerts. And judging by the vast number of articles cautioning students to “manage alcohol consumption” during VEISHEA week, we have a feeling ISU students do a little more than mingle with other students from different areas of academic expertise during this 91-year-old celebration. A week of festivities means a week of entertainment, and with performers like country singer Easton Corbin and B.o.B at this year’s VEISHEA, this part of ISU history brought students together in the best of ways again this year.

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5. Sun God Festival at University of California, San Diego

Consider UC’s Sun God Festival the perfect option for environmentally-conscious college students who are looking to attend a great concert. Under the California sunshine, SGF creates a positive experience that is perfect for West Coast collegiettes, and proceeds from the event go towards FM94/9’s “About the Music” project, which helps to fund musical education in schools in the San Diego area. This year’s lineup includes Kendrick Lamar, Porter Robinson, and Youngblood Hawke. As part of the environmentally friendly SGF Water Program, students are asked to bring or buy only reusable water bottles at the event. Think of Sun God as your equally fun but tamer (and environmentally conscious!) counterpart to USC’s Springfest. Definitely a solid pick for those of us that aren’t exactly into raving.

4. Tigerfest at Towson University

While the Ravens may have brought the hype to Baltimore, MD, this winter with their Super Bowl win, Towson University’s annual Tigerfest definitely takes care of the hype (and then some) in the spring. And given that Wiz Khalifa headlined this year’s event, Towson definitely maintained its reputation for throwing Maryland’s best spring bash. “Tigerfest is definitely what Towson’s all about,” says Towson senior Ethan Tome. “It’s not just about the music; it’s about celebrating our school and another year well spent at TU. I haven’t missed one yet.”

3. Drake Relays at Drake University

A little different from the other festivals on this list, the Drake Relays combine athletics and festivities to produce a two day-long celebration in Des Moines, IA. “There’s tons of events, alumni come back, and the whole Des Moines community is involved,” says Kristin Doherty, a Drake sophomore. With events that include student races, like a real 6K, a mud run, and wheelbarrow relay races, the coolest part of the Drake Relays is definitely the high profile participants that come out to enjoy the fun, such as Olympian Lolo Jones. The Relays pull big crowds to watch the nation’s best athletes compete in the relay events, and the annual celebration is concluded with a concert for all to enjoy—this year, it was We the Kings. Students from Drake’s diverse organizations are also asked to help commemorate The Relays by painting the cement area in the center of campus in honor of the events, “but it usually just turns into a giant paint fight,” Kristin says. Sounds to us like a perfect way to welcome in the warmer weather!


2. Round Up Weekend at the University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas at Austin provides its often neon-clad students with an annual 72-hour-long celebration during which sorority and fraternity houses host various local and big-name musicians for concerts. And with many houses staying true to tradition by also offering southern delicacies like crawfish boils and outdoor slip ‘n slides, perhaps the best thing about UT’s annual Round Up celebration is that all of the proceeds collected (which is usually a few dollars at the entrance of each house) go to the respective Greek organization’s philanthropy. Dartying for a good cause? Spring never sounded so good, y’all.

1. #Fest at Ohio University

Despite its northern location, the students at OU invite spring with open arms… and a week-long party. “Here at Ohio University we are (the) ‘home’ of spring fests,” says OU junior and HC OU Writer Lauren Koketko. And judging by OU’s #Fest, her proclamation may not be far from the truth. Every year, the city of Athens, OH, partners with Ohio University to hold a series of festivals. Each major street in the city chooses a night to hold their own “fest,” where musicians perform and patrons line the streets to enjoy great vibes and even better spring weather. This week of “mini fests” lead up to the big Number Fest, in which the school invites big-name artists to perform on campus. This year’s 11 Fest included performances by Kendrick Lamar and Steve Akoi, and it offered other, smaller concerts around the venue to ensure that students with different musical tastes still had a blast. An entire city uniting for the purpose of raging? We approve!

Take a look at this video from 10 Fest in 2012 to get a feel for what Athens has to offer at their annual celebration.

So whether you attend a school that provides a huge concert with a big name artist or a laid back spring festival, there’s no denying that end-of-semester festivities are probably the best way to celebrate finishing the last of your assignments. School-sponsored concerts are a way to make awesome memories with your college friends, and no what matter your spring festival entails, enjoy it as a reward for another semester finished. Sunglasses on and bottoms up, collegiettes!

 

Abigail Colby is a current senior at Salisbury University in her native state of Maryland. Before writing and blogging for Her Campus, she worked on the entertainment team for College Magazine and founded her own column, Party Girl Problems, in SU's student newspaper. Along with working as a writer, Abigail is a sister of Zeta Tau Alpha and member of Saisbury Univeristy's Center for Civic Activism. She is also a self-admitted online shopping addict, huge Baltimore Ravens fan (ya know, the Superbowl champs), and loves being out on the water. Puppies and cupcakes are pretty high on the list as well. Enjoy!!  
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