SpringFest: A Musical Moment at Michigan

As the academic year comes to a close, students at the University of Michigan are more than ready for springtime, including the warm weather and freedom it entails. And what better way to embody that excitement than SpringFest?

Originally inspired by a small group of freshman, SpringFest is a festival put on by the U-Mich group, MUSIC Matters, and serves as a way for students to showcase their musical talents, as well as engage in an innovative and creative community within the university.

This year’s annual festival took place on April 16, 2019, and featured over 65 student organizations. Students had the opportunity to experience musical and dance performances, food trucks from local vendors, live mural paintings, and more. Each year, the event closes with a benefit concert featuring huge headlining artists.

This year, the concert featured none other than A$AP Ferg, with impressive opening acts by Jeff Basta, Namix, Tracy Money, and B Free. The event was hosted in the university’s Hill Auditorium on N. University, with doors opening promptly at 7:00pm.

The night opened with the Jeff Basta, a young DJ from Hyannis, Massachusetts, who offered an up-beat mix of popular songs ranging from the genres of hip-hop to EDM and beyond. He definitely got the crowd hyped-up – an effort that was only furthered by Namix’s performance. Aside from being a freshman at the University of Michigan, Namix also produces original rap and hip-hop beats. He looks to collaborate with local musicians and vocalists in order to make music that reflects the music scene of Ann Arbor. He certainly achieved this at SpringFest, as his music seemed to particularly motivate the crowd to get out of their seats and dance along to his set.  

By around 8:00pm, the music style had fully transitioned from DJ mixes to rap as Tracy Money entered the stage. Originally from Harlem, New York, this 3-man rap group immediately demanded the crowd’s attention and got them involved with their performance. Having all attended the University of Michigan, their excitement to perform for the current students at this event was apparent, as their energy and “Tracey gang” chants filled the entire auditorium. Their tribute to a recently deceased friend, Sa-Ku Floyd, was particularly touching, and the students offered their support through shouting out their lost brother’s name during the dedication.

B Free kept this same high-energy going as he came on stage. Joined by his DJ, Disc Jockey George, this Detroit-native performed some of his original songs, including a few raps over recognizable beats such as Chris Brown’s, “Run It.” Towards the end of his performance, he invited a close friend from the crowd on stage with him as a way of expressing gratitude for their friendship.

His stage presence and overall performance served as the perfect segue to A$AP Ferg, a rapper from Harlem, New York who, aside from his solo career, is a member of A$AP Mob. He walked on stage sporting a yellow hat and blue sweatshirt, referencing the University’s school colors. By this time, the entire auditorium had been filled, with students desperately trying to push to the front to join the hype. All hands went up as Ferg began performing some of his fan-favorites, including “Mattress,” “Work,” “Shabba,” and “Plain Jane.” He took breaks between songs to acknowledge his fans and make sure they were engaged in his performance, and even threw his yellow hat into the crowd before closing the night with, “New Level.”

SpringFest’s effort to unite University of Michigan students on the basis of music appreciation was certainly achieved through this concert, as the crowd was engaged and on their feet, dancing and singing together, throughout the entirety of the night. Moments such as these are the experiences that are most memorable when looking back at your time at a university, as they really allow you to bond with your peers over a shared interest while simultaneously giving other students a platform to share their talents. SpringFest was an unforgettable event, and I look forward to attending and supporting my community in the next year and beyond.