While most are trying to keep warm during one of the coldest winters the Southeast has seen in years, The Music Group at Vanderbilt University is gearing up for its Rites of Spring Music Festival Friday, April 23, and Saturday, April 24. This year’s line up includes Drake, Ben Harper and Relentless7, Phoenix and Passion Pit.
Tickets are available to the general public and will go on sale Monday, Feb. 22, at 10 a.m. central time at all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000. Vanderbilt’s Sarratt Box Office is the only location where tickets can be purchased with cash or check and with no service fees included. For more information, visit ritesofspring.com or on Twitter at twitter.com/ritesatvandy.
The Music Group is a student-run organization that also plans and produces Vanderbilt’s homecoming concert – Commodore Quake.
“The concerts The Music Group organizes are on par with other major festivals in Nashville and nationwide,” said Dwayne V. Elliott, Vanderbilt director of student campus events. "I’m incredibly proud of the caliber and diversity of the acts that our students bring to campus for their peers and the community.”
A Jay-Z concert organized by The Music Group this past fall was recently chosen as “Best Concert” in Metromix’s “Best of Nashville 2009 Awards” and last year’s Rites of Spring broke attendance records.
Canadian hip-hop star Drake has quickly risen up the charts since his first mixtape release in 2006 titled Room for Improvement. His third and highly acclaimed 2009 mixtape, So Far Gone, was named “The Hottest Mixtape of 2009” by MTV. His single from that mixtape, “Best I Ever Had,” landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Rap Chart and No. 2 on Billboard Hot 100 in July 2009 – making Drake only the second artist to have his/her first two top ten hits in the same week. Drake’s quick rise to fame has led to collaborations with artists such as Jay-Z, Timbaland, Mary J. Blige, and Kanye West. Drake’s debut album, Thank Me Later, will be released this spring.
Grammy award-winner Ben Harper rock band Ben Harper and Relentless7 has become a staple at music festivals. After lead guitarist Jason Mozersky played a demo for him in the late ‘90s, Harper invited Mozersky and friends, who would later become Relentless7 members, to play on his 2006 album Both Sides of the Gun. Ben Harper and Relentless 7 released their first album, White Lies for Dark Times, in May 2009.
The rock-synth sound of French alternative rock band Phoenix reflects both an eclectic ‘80s upbringing and the same culture that produced late ‘90s bands like Daft Punk. Originally based out of vocalist Thomas Mars’ garage, Phoenix got their touring start performing Hank Williams and Prince covers at French bars. Paris-based Source Records signed the group and produced their debut album United in 2000. Nine years and four albums later, the group’s 2009 global smash album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix won them a 2010 Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.
Indie pop, electronica band Passion Pit formed in late 2007 when frontman Michael Angelakos sat down to write a few songs for his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. The band’s debut was an EP titled Chunk of Change. They released their first full-length studio album, Manners, in 2008. The album’s single “The Reeling” peaked at No. 29 in fall 2009 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.
Rites of Spring features a range of music from established acts to music festival favorites to promising musicians from the underground music scene. Additional confirmed acts for this year’s show include Cold War Kids, Doug E. Fresh, Melanie Fiona, JJ Grey & Mofro, The New Mastersounds, Salvador Santana, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue and Two Door Cinema Club with more to be announced soon.