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Busta Rhymes Concert Highlights Spring Weekend

By Steve Hoberman

MIT played host to a number of events during this year’s Spring Weekend. While rain forced the International Fair to move to Johnson Athletics Center Friday, clear skies greeted the Spring Carnival and MIT Unplugged on Saturday.

A sold-out concert by hip-hop artist Busta Rhymes drew over 2,500 students to Johnson Athletic Center Friday evening and marked the centerpiece of the two-day event. The high attendance at this year’s Spring Concert marked a departure from recent years when less-recognized acts came to perform.

Spring Carnival participation also increased, according to Michelle T. Hardiman ’00, a Spring Weekend co-chair.

“I honestly thought it went so much better this year,” Hardiman said.

More attend Carnival, Unplugged

Spring Carnival, held on Kresge Oval, “was much more visible than before because it was larger,” Hardiman said.

The carnival boasted eight rides. Two popular additions included a tsumo wrestling booth and a platform for a joust, according to Hardiman.

The carnival also included a gyroscopic antigravity machine, a velcro wall, and a bungee running event.

“People thought the carnival was really fun,” said Janaki Wickrema ’02, who was in attendance.

“It was very cool,” said Deanna Chou, ‘01.

The annual Alpha Phlea Market and a Battle of the Bands rounded out the list of Spring Carnival events.

Fewer people attended MIT Unplugged which followed the carnival. The Alpha Tau Omega bachelor auction and Dance Mix Coalition BASSIX party were held in Lobdell, while two psychics and a caricature artist entertained students on the first floor of the Student Center. That evening, students also had the opportunity to sing karaoke-style in Networks.

“I think it went well but I think it is an event that needs to be built for the future,” Hardiman said, citing the fact that this was the first year the ATO auction and dance party were held as part of one larger event.

Spring Concert goes well

“I’m very satisfied” with the concert, said Kartik M. Mani ’00, another Spring Weekend co-chair. Other area colleges were well represented at the concert as well -- students from Northeastern, Harvard, and Boston University attended the show.

“We let MIT students have priority,” when it came to purchasing tickets. Mani said. Other college students were also charged more for tickets. Spring Concert was the only Spring Weekend event that was officially open to the public.

Rhymes gave an energetic and audacious performance. Accompanied by two members of the Flipmode Squad, Rhymes was not bashful about engaging the audience.

Student reactions were mixed. The audience enjoyed Rhymes and his antics, responding enthusiastically to the artist’s encouragement to yell louder.

Many enjoyed the concert. “He’s a really good performer,” said Cindy Cho, ’00.

Other students were unhappy about the choice of singer.

“The $30,000 that Busta Rhymes cost was one student’s tuition,” said Edward Early ’00. “If that student was me, I want my money back.”

Spring Weekend cost a total of $68,000, according to Hardiman. The Busta Rhymes’ concert cost $49,000 out of that total, exclusive of ticket revenue.

Spring Weekend was sponsored by the Undergraduate Association, the Dormitory Council, the Graduate Student Council, and the Campus Activities Council Oversight Committee.