In a mere four weeks, students will crowd Libe Slope to celebrate the end of the academic year. The upcoming Slope Day, which will be held on May 7, will continue with last year’s structure which featured music and non-alcoholic entertainment. The musical entertainment will be headlined by Kanye West and OAR, with Matt Nathanson and Dilated Peoples also performing.
The Slope Day Programming Board, a committee created in the fall to oversee the organization of the event, is responsible for Greek events, catering, volunteers, publicity, Slope Fest and music. The music selection was a joint effort between the Programming Board and the Cornell Concert Commission. The bands were chosen “the same way we choose most of our concerts … we ask people what they want to hear,” said David Katz-Doff ’05, executive director. Student reaction to the selection and diversity of the bands has been positive, Katz-Doff added.
The four bands slated to perform encompass genres of music ranging from hip-hop to rock. The opening act will be Dilated Peoples, a hip hop group that Katz-Doff assured will “be a really good time.” Kanye West, who is Katz-Doff described as “without a doubt, one of the hottest names in hip hop today” will follow.
According to Katz-Doff, Matt Nathanson, a “really engaging” acoustic performer with a “good sense of humor” will be performing next. Finally, OAR, a fusion rock band, will close the concert. “They advertise themselves as five different types of music together, like reggae, funk, rock, jazz and folk,” said Will Gordon ’05, selection director of CCC.
“Everyone is excited about a different aspect of it … It represents huge facets of music — almost everyone finds something in it that makes them really excited about Slope Day,” Gordon said.
Other entertainment will include the MGLC Stroll Exhibition on Ho Plaza and Slope Fest, a non-alcoholic event.
Slope Fest, which offers “karaoke, carnival games, cotton candy and a dunk tank,” remains a dry event as a “stipulation that members of the S.A. felt strongly about,” said Nick Linder ’05, president of the Student Assembly. According to Steve Blake ’05, president of the Slope Day Programming Board, Slope Fest was created in 1998 as a non-alcoholic alternative to drinking on the slope.
While catering services will still serve alcohol to students over 21, the presence of the bands may help to minimize alcohol consumption.
“If you’re somewhat responsible, you’re not going to drink to the point where you can’t think and need medical attention if you want to hear the band,” Linder said.
After last year’s Slope Day re-introduced musical entertainment, “numbers reflect that people weren’t drinking as much and getting sick,” Linder said.
The construction of the fence around Libe Slope is also intended to reduce alcohol use and poisoning. According to Linder, “when there was no fence, the event was deemed to be extraordinarily dangerous … [there was] no regulation or control over alcohol consumption from the administration’s perspective.”
Despite the controls and regulations over alcohol on the slope, drinking away from campus remains an issue.
“We’re always concerned about excessive consumption of alcohol off campus,” said Kent Hubbell ’67, dean of students.
According to Linder, planning for the upcoming celebration focused on two areas: programming and logistics. The bands this year will begin at 1:30 p.m., over an hour later than last year. “The reason that it’s starting later has to do with courses going on and an administration mandate … the administration was adamant about keeping amplified music down till 1:25 pm,” Linder said.
Hubbell also noted that starting the event later would coincide with the warmer weather later in the day.
“We think that will be better all the way around,” Hubbell said.
In addition to the Slope Day Programming Board, the event is also organized by Slope Day Steering Committee and the Slope Day Event Management Planning Team. Blake, who sits on each of the committees with other students and administrators, believes there is a “need to get students involved on every level.”
After many changes and resulting unknowns in last year’s Slope Day, Blake felt it would be best to “seek out administrators [from the start]… to work together to plan this event.”
Hubbell, who chairs the steering committee with Blake, praised the student involvement: “The S.A. has just done a wonderful job along with a variety of other students.”
Slope Day, which is funded by both the student activity fee and the university, is estimated to cost between a quarter to half million, according to Blake. An exact figure is difficult to calculate since donations, maintenance and work by staff members and volunteers cannot be easily accounted for.
The atmosphere and entertainment of Slope Day, as it is now known with music, food, alcohol took form in 1979 and has continued since then as a tradition for Cornell students.
“We hope that it’s going to be a wonderful community event,” Hubbell said.
Archived article by Diana Lo
Sun Senior Editor