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The Carletonian

Hippo Campus announced as Sproncert headliner

Semera Kimbel-Sannit
Students dance at Sproncert 2023.

On Thursday, May 2, SAO announced that Hippo Campus will be the headliner for Sproncert. Hippo Campus is an indie rock band from St. Paul, Minnesota. The announcement came two weeks before the event. 

Sproncert, a portmanteau of Spring Concert, is a Carleton tradition — this year will be the 43rd. Past headliners have included Duckworth, Kehlani and Smash Mouth. The event takes place each year on a Saturday in late May.

SAO announced the headliner only by email. Their Instagram post about the announcement included a directive for students to check their emails, but not the band’s name. SAO explained this in their email: “As per our agreement with their talent agency, we will refer to the band as ‘Special Guest’ on our website and all future advertisements.” 

“There were a couple special difficulties this year due to our agreement with the band,” said Semera Kimbel-Sannit ’25, a member of the committee planning Sproncert. “I know this is a bit unconventional but that is the deal and it will ultimately not affect the day-of proceedings. However, this did mean we had to be a little more secretive leading up to the release. Leaks almost always happen, but this was a more serious concern this year.”

“It was a real challenge keeping the headliner under wraps, since it allowed a lot of time for us to know until we released it for rumors to start flying around,” said Gideon Antwi ’26, another member of the Sproncert Committee, which chose the headliner.

“We sent out a campus survey to get artist and genre suggestions for Sproncert, and Hippo Campus was definitely mentioned multiple times,” said Kate Ng ’24, a member of the Sproncert Committee. “It’s important that we take into account overall student input, given that it’s their CSA dollars that are funding the event. Hippo Campus, I believe, was suggested by both the campus survey and had a lot of Sproncert committee support.”

“We were presented with several different options which ultimately lead to reaching out to numerous other bands until we finally landed on Hippo Campus as our headliner,” explained Antwi. 

Lily Vargo ’25 was excited to see the committee’s choice. “I’m very happy!” [JUMP] said Vargo. “Hippo Campus has been my favorite band for eight years, they’re my hometown heroes. Even though I’ve seen them three times, I’m very excited!”

“I was already excited because Sproncert is my favorite Carleton tradition, but this makes me more excited,” Vargo added. “Now, it’s not only vibing out to random music with my friends, it’s vibing out to my favorite band with my friends, so that sounds like a good Saturday to me!”

Vargo had requested Hippo Campus on the Sproncert input form, and knew that other students had as well. “Shout out to the Mock Trial team who spammed the form with Hippo Campus,” she said. “I appreciate it!” (Kaori Hirano ’25 and Jamie Klein ’25, the current CSA president and treasurer, are also on the Mock Trial team).

According to Ng, the campus seems to be responding well to the news. “I think the campus reaction has been positive so far,” said Ng. “It’s definitely early, but I’ve yet to hear anything negative, so I feel like Hippocampus is being well-received by the students.” 

“We also got a really good response to Orion Sun.” said Kimbel-Sannit. “ This year, our top three artists (the headliner, Orion Sun, and The Warning) are all honestly headliner material for a college of our size and I think the student body’s reaction has proved that.”

Not all students, however, were not as thrilled about the announcement. Andrew Rose ’27 was left asking several questions about the way that Sproncert chooses their headliners. “So was Taylor Swift busy that night?” asked Rose. “Did we even call Beyoncé?”

“During New Student Week, we had a place for all the new first-years to give their suggestions for Sproncert–although a lot of these suggestions were going to be outside of our price range (sorry guys, no Taylor Swift) but it was great to get people excited and introduce them to such a fun tradition,” said. Kimbel-Sannit in an email to the Carletonian. “However we can make it happen, I just want people to be excited.”

Still, many seem excited about the decision. “From what I’ve seen, the campus so far is excited for the headliner,” said Antwi. “I’m glad we were able to choose a headliner that the campus is excited to see!  I’m excited to explore a new genre at Sproncert. I feel like they’ll be able to give us a great performance!”

Last year, Sproncert’s initial headliner, Doechii, couldn’t attend for “personal reasons.” This led the Sproncert Committee to choose 24KGoldn instead. 

Sproncert is a day-long event that incorporates a headliner, several opening bands and both the winner and runner up of the Carleton Battle of the Bands. This year’s Battle of the Bands representatives, The Cyber-Spiritual Order of Mechanical Hedonism and Minus Eleven, will join the bands Dred I Dred, Papa Mbye, Orion Sun and the Warning at Sproncert. These bands were chosen to reflect the musical taste of Carleton.

“As for the other performers [like] Dread I Dred, we wanted a variety of different performers and we thought they’d be a great choice to hit a wide breadth of genres,” said Antwi. “The same goes for Papa Mbye. We wanted to find an artist that the whole campus would be able to enjoy.”  

Accommodating the taste of the student body was a major concern for the Sproncert committee. Kimbel-Sannit believes that working with what students want is a priority for the committee.

“People normally have really strong opinions about the Sproncert lineup and we get it,” said Kimbel-Sannit. “The bands we invite to perform are a reflection of the school and our priorities. With a music taste as diverse as the student body, it is so important to make sure everyone feels heard and represented. This is why we begin the process with a campus-wide poll to get a sense of what people want to see at Sproncert and the general vibe for genres, artists, etc.” 

Ng thinks that Hippo Campus was the right choice for that reason. “I might be generalizing here, but I feel like Carleton’s music taste skews indie, so Hippo Campus is nicely representative of that,” said Ng. “Also, it’s generally good to have musical variety year to year, so a departure from rap as the headlining act was kind of due.” 

This year’s Sproncert will take place on May 18 on the fields behind the Recreation Center. The event is open to all Carleton students. Guests are required to register by Friday, May 17 in order to be admitted. This year’s Sproncert opens its gates at 2:00 p.m. and will feature student DJs, The Cyber-Spiritual Order of Mechanical Hedonism Minus Eleven, Dred I Dred, Papa Mbye, Orion Sun and the Warning, concluding with Hippo Campus and fireworks.

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About the Contributors
Becky Reinhold
Becky Reinhold, Editor in Chief
I'm a junior Philosophy major, and I can usually be found in the basement of Anderson or wandering around Northfield. I like thunderstorms and writing articles around 2am. Becky was previously Managing Editor, Viewpoint Editor, and Design Editor.
Bax Meyer
Bax Meyer, Managing Editor
Hey, all! I'm Bax (he/him), and I'm a junior Econ major with a Middle East Studies minor. I love talking about Middle East politics and American Indian Treaty Rights. I'll always send you good book or movie recomendations. You can probably find me on campus wandering the arb, on 1st libe, or at step areobics. I like dad jokes, American Indian Treaty Rights, shawarma, and publishing my hot takes in the Carletonian anonymously.
Red flags: econ major, will judge you for using the Oxford comma, and hates geese
Green flags: Middle East Studies minor, still uses the Oxford comma, and quotes the Star Wars prequels on the daily
Bax was previously Managing Director and Viewpoint Editor.

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    AnonymousMay 3, 2024 at 1:10 am

    Saying they haven’t heard any negative comments is bold when there isn’t a single person on campus that I’ve talked to that wanted them as a headliner. They are a great opening act, but as a headliner, super disappointing.