While the mention of Slope Day brings visions of a packed slope and pounding music to juniors and seniors, Slope Day will go virtual for the second year in a row in the only format that underclassmen have experienced the beloved Cornell tradition.
Last Dinosaurs and Ari Lennox will be headlining this year’s Virtual Slope Day that begins Friday, the Slope Day Programming Board announced April 22, with Ari Lennox being the first female headliner in the event’s history, according to Estefania Perez ’21, the board’s executive director. PREP, a multi-genre band, will join Last Dinosaurs and MICHELLE on the virtual stage for the first night, while Ari Lennox will be joined by EarthGang and Smino for night two.
Leading up to the end of classes celebration, some students have expressed uncertainty about how this Virtual Slope Day will operate, while others have remained cautiously optimistic that the virtual event could still provide some fun before exams.
“Though I’m not familiar with the artists lined up, I appreciate the evident efforts for diversity and it seems like it’d be a chance to update my playlist,” said Joanne Lee ’22.
However, some students said they worried about the virtual nature of this year’s event — the second time Slope Day has unfolded online.
“It’s hard to be excited about the virtual one,” said Koichi Takara ’22, a fall 2020 transfer student. “If I went to the concert in-person beforehand and I watched the video afterward, I can enjoy the video because I understand the vibe of the concert. If I’ve never been to the concert and watch the video, then all I usually hear is an out-of-tune singer combined with [a] bad mix of audio.”
When it came to the selection of the artists, the virtual format gave the organizers flexibility in choosing what type of musicians to recruit for Slope Day.
“One thing that was unique about this year was we got to experiment sonically about what artists we wanted to bring to Slope Day. In past years, we always had an EDM act,” said Christy Atangana ’22, artist relations and selections director for the Slope Day Programming Board.
According to Atangana, the committee decided EDM would not be as enjoyable booming through a computer, leading them to select genres such as rock and R&B.
Planning for virtual Slope Day began in the fall 2020 semester, through the uncertainty of what the event would look like come spring.
“We did not know what the world would look like come May 2021,” Perez said. “There was so much uncertainty that hopes for a hybrid-esque show were ruled out early on in the planning process. The main aspect we planned for this show involved promoting safety during a pandemic.”
Ahead of Virtual Slope Day, the Slope Day Programming Board worked with the Cornell University Program Board to bring DJ Diesel, the NBA star turned DJ Shaquille O’Neal, to promote Slope Day.
The board will also be distributing 900 lunch kits from May 14 to 15 to promote Virtual Slope Day at Annabel Taylor Hall, Baker Flagpole and 626 Thurston Ave. Dining halls will also have special menus, Perez said.
Despite the mixed reaction from students, for many, Virtual Slope Day provides a chance for a community gathering and offers a taste of the long-standing Cornell spring tradition.
“I’m looking forward to Virtual Slope Day, and I’m curious to see how it compares to the virtual experience last year,” said Lia Sokol ’23. “Last spring, I FaceTimed a friend while we watched to try and replicate being in Ithaca together, so I might do that again.”