Spring Concert, affectionately known on campus as Sproncert, returned on May 21 after two years of COVID-19 cancellations. Sproncert is a unique springtime tradition at Carleton: an all-day music festival featuring student bands alongside regional and national acts, it is one of the only events each year that brings the entire student body together. With good music, cuisine from local food trucks and field games, it is little wonder that Carls turn out in droves for Sproncert.
This year marked Carleton’s 41st annual Sproncert. Every year, a group of students forms the Sproncert Committee to plan the event and hire a headliner and supporting acts. This year’s headliner was rapper and songwriter DUCKWRTH, who began releasing music in the mid-2010s, with his first full length album I’m Uugly hitting airwaves in 2016. Aside from headlining Carleton Sproncert, DUCKWRTH is best known for his hit single Start A Riot featuring rapper Shaboozey. Start A Riot notably was featured on the soundtrack of the 2018 film Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.
DUCKWRTH, however, was not the only act worth seeing. The lineup included Carleton student bands Paranoid Fiction and Beans of Production, alongside Carleton alum Rebecca McCartney and national acts Gully Boys, Maude Latour, and Tank & the Bangas. These musicians perform on a stage set up on the field behind the Rec Center to leave ample space for dancing and picnic blankets.
For the Carleton band Beans of Production, the opportunity to play Sproncert was a dream come true. Many of the band’s members are seniors who have lost two Sproncerts to COVID-19, and this year’s concert was their last chance to take the stage. Beans of Production singer Alexis Walters ‘22 described the experience of playing at Sproncert, commenting, “I had an absolutely amazing time playing Sproncert with my fellow Beans! All of us in the band play with so much joy and zest, and it was really rewarding after COVID-19 and the Battle of the Bands journey to get to bring that joy to so many people. Looking out at the audience during the set was undoubtedly one of the best Carleton experiences I’ve had here.”
Walters enthusiastically adds, “Also, we have a gig next Sunday on the 5th at the [Contented] Cow, so y’all should turn out! Keep seizing the beans!”
While the main attraction of Sproncert is undoubtedly the performances, the event means far more to students than its name suggests.
To some, such as Sophie Draper ‘24, Sproncert holds significant personal importance. “One of the members of Gully Boys,” a local Grunge Pop band who performed during the festival, “used to teach me guitar when I was a kid,” Draper explains. “So I’m very excited about [seeing them].” On the other hand, several students became newly acquainted with music through Sproncert. “I’m not one for live music,” Brandon Moore ‘24 says, but he soon discovered that “you feel it in your chest, the drums and guitar… I absolutely love it.” Of course, to the students who hung to the back and enjoyed one of several outdoor activities offered (cornhole, volleyball, and spikeball were there, among others), Sproncert was simply an opportunity to relax and enjoy a moment of fun with friends before the onslaught of finals.
The performing artists weren’t the only ones showcasing their creativity. Many attendees took the opportunity to put together extravagant themed outfits far removed from a normal day on campus. Eli Watt ‘24, who wore an all-pink ensemble with glittery makeup, was one of them. “I was feeling hyper-femme today. I think I just wanted my outfit to reflect that—in a monochrome sort of way,” Watt recalls. “It took, like, 15 minutes to put my outfit together, and I spent 30 minutes on my makeup. Pinterest is my main inspiration… I feel like it gives off very vague Sailor Moon energy.”
But fashion wasn’t the only medium students used to express themselves. Aiden Chang ‘23 added some welcome lightness to the evening’s events with a handmade sign. The front portion of the sign was an official “Every Carl For Carleton” banner with “Carleton” crossed out and replaced with “UR MOM.” Chang knew that if “it’s going to be funny, ‘ur mom’ is the most generic funny joke. There’s little lightbulbs in the shape of a heart” encircling the “UR MOM,” Chang explains, “that… come on at 8:00 p. when it’s all dark.”
The back of the sign featured an illustration of a female anime character holding a gun and advising onlookers not to “simp,” surrounded by signatures. “This is everyone who signed up not to simp today. It’s a contract,” Chang says. “Simping is bad… People have more fun when they don’t simp.” Made from a wooden stick, a banner, duct tape and string lights with a matching switch, the sign took roughly a week to make. “When you go to raves, there are usually banners for people to identify where you are in the middle of the crowd,” Chang describes. “I wanted to make one so my friends would understand where I am, but it evolved into something just funny.”
It was unclear whether Chang himself took the no-simping pledge, but at least two Carletonian editors did.