Editor's Note: Following the publication of this piece, the editors of Fifteen Minutes magazine discovered that the author is the publicity chair for the College Events Board, a group that plays a significant role in organizing Yardfest. Had the editors known of this, the author would not have been assigned to write this piece, as it is in violation of The Harvard Crimson's conflict of interest policy. The Crimson strongly and sincerely regrets this lapse.
This year marks Yardfest’s sixth birthday. FM tracks the growth and growing pains of this (costly) baby.
First Steps — 2006
The newly formed College Events Board (CEB) took control of College-wide social event planning and rechristened Harvard’s annual spring concert “Yardfest.” Seven thousand came to Tercentenary Theater to celebrate its debut, as Ben Folds belted out some crowd-pleasers. The baby had everyone’s blessings.
Terrible Two’s — 2007
Attendance took a nosedive at the second Yardfest, totalling 1,500-2,000 students. Officials blamed the rain. Crimson editors blamed the unfortunate choice of Third Eye Blind, which brought back painful memories of middle school. The weather was bleak, the food wet, and the band washed up. The whole event was a snooze.
Yardfest Takes Off — 2008
Thanks to an aggressive publicity campaign and a smarter choice of artists, Yardfest redeemed itself on its third birthday. On a warm, sunny Friday afternoon, 7,000 students left Lamont for the nine-member hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, and about 5,000 stayed for pop-rock artist Gavin DeGraw.
I’m a Big Boy Now — 2009
Electronic duo Ratatat and one-hit-wonder Sara Bareilles drew a record 7,100 undergraduates on a chilly Sunday evening. The highlight of the night came when Mike Stroud of Ratatat screamed wildly, “I love Harvard!” Like the rest of the attendees, he was probably drunk.
Not Your Average Kid — 2010
The fifth Yardfest featured both indie and hip-hop artists. Indie-folk artist Patrick Park had the unfortunate task of playing his first two songs to an audience of about 50. Students started to stream in for Wale’s rap interlude, and over 4,500 were present by the time headliner Kid Cudi ended the show with his most popular single, “Day ’n’ Nite.”
(Early) Puberty — 2011
This year, the six-year-old will go through some changes. Yardfest falls on the Sunday of Prefrosh Weekend, which means you should expect a horde of overly-enthusiastic 17-year-olds trying to beat you to the tire swings. It will take place in the Old Yard, not the Tercentenary Theater, so John Harvard can participate in all the fun and listen to this year’s lineup of Far East Movement, The White Panda, and Sam Adams.