MUSIC Matters, a student organization working to advance social change through music, hosted their annual SpringFest concert at Palmer Field on Saturday. As one of the largest student-run events at the University of Michigan, according to the MUSIC Matters website, SpringFest aims to bring the campus community together through advocacy, dance and music. About 200 music lovers within the U-M community attended this year’s event.
This year, 10 student music and dance groups performed at the eight-hour festival, which featured food trucks and sponsored giveaways. MUSIC Matters also partnered with other student organizations including Wolverine Support Network, to offer the opportunity to connect with a diverse array of campus organizations.
LSA junior Anna Lehrer served as this year’s SpringFest chair for MUSIC Matters. In her role, she oversees the entire planning process, which started in summer 2021. Lehrer said one of her favorite things about the festival is the way it introduces students to the campus music scene and provides student artists an opportunity to perform.
“We start planning for this event in August before school even starts,” Lehrer said. “It’s really a full-year process to plan a music festival, but it’s so rewarding. I love seeing our hard work pay off with happy members and a happy audience. We have such incredible local talent here in Ann Arbor and it’s so great to appreciate it.”
MUSIC Matters has 200 club members and is organized into five committees. Though one of these committees is solely charged with organizing SpringFest, Lehrer said all of the committees collaborate in the spring to put on the event.
“At SpringFest, we want to use the unifying power of music to bring the community together and promote local talent and local organizations,” Lehrer said. “In my role, I want to bring everyone together and get everyone in the club involved. I really value having an expansive and diverse community connected through the arts.”
LSA junior Jenna Shatzman serves as the head of membership development for MUSIC Matters. After helping plan Saturday’s event, Shatzman came as an attendee and said it was wonderful to see so many talented students in the same place. MUSIC Matters works to foster strong relationships with campus bands all year, Shatzman said, which helps the event run smoothly when spring rolls around.
“We worked hard to have relationships with student bands on campus,” Shatzman said. “We support and hold other events throughout the year to try and find as diverse … a range of bands as we can. It’s so great to showcase so many different bands, organizations and vendors.”
Architecture senior Lauren Conroy was one of the many students who attended SpringFest this year. Conroy said she initially went to see her friend, LSA senior Alison Albrecht, perform her solo set. Albrecht’s final cover — which was a performance of Lorde’s “Green Light” — brought the crowd to their feet and filled Palmer Field with cheers as she finished. After SpringFest was held virtually last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Conroy said it was exciting to be back in-person with her friends before they graduate at the end of the month.
“Being a senior, most of my time at Michigan has been during COVID as with most students,” Conroy said. “So this is my first time actually being able to come to SpringFest in-person. After two years of virtual events, it’s really cool being able to support friends and hear music live.”
One of the groups that performed at SpringFest was Gravytrain, an eight-member funk band. Music, Theatre & Dance junior Joseph Lauerman plays the keyboard for Gravytrain. He said participating in SpringFest was a rewarding experience for their group and the perfect way to end the academic year.
“Performing today was incredible,” Lauerman said. “The audio was great. The people were great. The audience was engaged and excited. Especially at the end of the school year, it’s so nice to be able to play our music for people live and outdoors.”
Editor’s note: Daily Staff Reporter Justin O’Beirne is a member of MUSIC Matters. O’Beirne did not participate in the writing or editing of this article.
Daily Staff Reporter Carly Brechner can be reached at [email protected]