Just like everything else this year, Lawrence’s student-run music festival will look different from years past (and hopefully, from years to come). In recent years, the festival has hosted over a dozen traveling performers on the quad over Memorial Day weekend, supported by additional performances by Lawrence students.
One big change this year is the festival’s partnership with the Committee on Diversity Affairs (CODA). The student group approached the LUaroo organizers, the Band Booking Committee (BBC), for advice when they wanted to create their own music festival highlighting BIPOC and LGBTQ+ artists. The two student groups then saw the opportunity to combine forces, leading to this year’s lineup featuring only acts that met certain criteria.
“In years past, it has always been important to us that we highlight performers of color and LGBTQ performers, but this is the first time we’re giving them our focus exclusively,” said Georgia Greenberg ‘20, festival co-director from 2018-2020 and current alumni advisor. “In order to not be tokenizing to artists, it is important to have a real curiosity about what’s out there now. The lineup is entirely selected by Lawrence students, and we get to look deeply and get excited about all the artists we find and invite.”
The lineup this year features a few names that Lawrentians may remember — CJ Run performed on campus in February 2020 at WLFM house. Minnesota trio Gully Boys were part of the 2018 LUaroo lineup. Although they were not announced before the festival was cancelled, Nur-D and Glitter Moneyyy were slated to perform at LUaroo in 2020. This year’s virtual lineup also includes Bradie Blaze, Fana Hues, Kelechi and Sammy Rae & The Friends.
In addition to the new booking strategy, the festival will be partially virtual. On Saturday, May 29, Lawrentians around the globe can join the livestream o Lawrence’s YouTube page, watch the pre-recorded sets and even have the chance to interact with some of the performers in the live premier chat. The livestream will begin at 3:30 p.m. and the first performer, Brandi Blaze, will begin at 3:45 p.m.
Sunday, May 30, will be largely dedicated to student performers. Building on Sol Studio’s successful live open mics, the festival organizers selected a dozen on-campus performers from student submissions. These artists did not have to meet the same guidelines that BBC and CODA developed for outside performers, but organizers aimed for a healthy mix of genres, favoring non-conservatory performers who may not have the same opportunities. The festival will end with a live on-campus performance from femdot. at 9 p.m. The full schedule is available at go.lawrence.edu/luaroo21.
All attendees will be expected to wear festival wristbands, found either in SPCs or at the festival; student volunteers and campus safety will be checking Lawrence University IDs. Although the event will be outside, all attendees are expected to wear masks, as distancing may be more challenging.
“Throughout planning, I was really aware that half the student body this year has never seen LUaroo,” added Greenberg. “We wanted to put on the fest this year to the best of our ability, not only to continue its second decade, but to ensure that there wasn’t a generation of Lawrence students who had to miss out.”
“Frankly, it is a little exciting to me to think about all the photos of everybody wearing masks at LUaroo,” she continued. “And we are going to have a few masks with our logo printed on them, and I don’t know, it’s kind of exciting how we will remember this time in history.”
The festival will start at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 29, and attendees will have the chance to pick up an LUaroo 2021 face mask, purchase pins to support SOL Studios’s spring fundraiser and buy Vietnamese Culture Organization’s Vietnamese iced coffee on Sunday.