Traditionally, Rites of Spring was a pagan ritual involving maypoles and earth-based spirituality, as one New York Times article put it. In these parts, Rites of Spring means two days where the music-loving Nashville community converges on Vanderbilt’s Alumni lawn for a festival some like to characterize as Bonnaroo’s kid brother.
This year, Rites will take place April 15-16 and will feature a variety of acts covering pop, rock and hip hop. For your convenience, we thought we’d hit a few of the highlights.
The National Rites of Spring will mark The National’s second stop in Nashville in the past six months. The band brought its classy, melancholic brand of rock to the Ryman Auditorium in October, to a mostly flannel-clad crowd. High Violet, their 5th studio album, came out last May and hit No. 3 on the Billboard 200, signaling the ascent of a band plugging away for a good decade and finally earning the attention and status as the kind of band to headline a festival. – Erin Carson
Kid Cudi Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi’s first single, “Day N Nite” off his debut album,” Man On The Moon: The End Of Day,” quickly rose to No. 4 on the Billboard charts in September 2009. Within a year, Cudi lived up to his reputation as a hip-hop game-changer, becoming one of the Top 10 most blogged about artists; his videos surpass 32 million views, and he has 4.6 million downloads for singles. Cudi accompanied Asher Roth on his sold-out “The Great Hangover Tour,” and headlined festivals like Audiotistic and Bonnaroo. With the success and exposure of his debut album, fans anticipated his sophomore album in November 2010, “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager,” featuring his latest single, “Erase Me.” Fans won’t want to miss this Rites of Spring performance on Cudi’s way to creating a hip-hop revolution. – Annalise Kraus
Public Enemy Rites usually has a strong hip hop/rap presence, from 2009’s headliner T.I., to Q-Tip, The Roots, and Lil Jon. This year, Flavor Flav and his clock will be there to represent. Public Enemy has been around just about as long as most of the kids who will be in attendance, racking up ten studio albums and earning a spot on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest artists of all time. Though, the highlight of their set will undoubtedly be hearing Flavor Flav utter those famous and quotable words to the audience: “Yeeeaaah Boooy!” – Erin Carson
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros cram a lot of people on stage in order to produce their full, joyous, jangly sound. Their debut album Up from Below featured the super catchy whistle-happy tune “Home.” As for their live performances, it’s been said that amid everything going on in the crowd and on stage, front man Alex Ebert and female vocalist Jade Castrianos have a way of making you feel like you’re interrupting something. Tip: there’s a lot of people in this band, just don’t ask which one is Edward. – Erin Carson
Madi Diaz Nashville’s very own Madi Diaz isn’t hard to catch if you keep an eye on the local concert listings. She’s a smart songwriter with a clear voice. Check out “Let’s Go” for an example of the kind of bright, indie-tinged tunes she sings. Expect Diaz’s latest album Plastic Moon out summer 2011. – Erin Carson
Sara Bareilles Shoring up the pop side of Rites, piano princess Sara Bareilles will grace the stage with her empowering, heart-string love songs. Fresh off her “Uncharted” single release, Bareilles is currently on her “Kaleidoscope Heart” tour. Her first single from her sophomore album, the sassy “King of Anything”, was nominated for a Grammy in February 2011. With her deep, soulful voice, Bareilles pounds away on the piano with emotion and lots of spunk. You won’t know whether to bring tissues or your dancing shoes. On second thought, you better bring both. – Amanda Stravinsky
Tickets are on sale at all Ticketmaster locations.
$30 – Student Tickets – One Ticket Per Vanderbilt Student (Only available at the Sarratt Student Center Box Office) $40 – Vanderbilt Faculty/Staff– Two Tickets per Faculty/ Staff (Only available at the Sarratt Student Center Box Office) $45 – Single Day Tickets (available April 1) $55 – General Public Weekend Pass – Purchased in Advance $65 – General Public Weekend Pass – Purchased Day of Show