Springfest and Relay for Life, arguably the two biggest events of the spring semester, have been scheduled for the same day for the second year in a row, leaving organizers concerned about the attendance for both.
Springfest is an annual free concert organized by Program Board and held at McCarthy Quad. This year, the popular rapper T-Pain will headline the event. Relay for Life is an annual 24-hour walkathon at Cromwell Field that raises money for cancer research. Both events, which will be held April 10, tend to draw a large number of people.
“We didn’t want them to be conflicting,” said Erica Worthington, a junior majoring in psychology who is the relay coacher for USC Relay for Life. “We wanted people to enjoy both of these events on their own.”
Melissa Park, a senior majoring in industrial and systems engineering and a co-chair of USC Relay for Life, said she is worried about the impact this year’s headliner might have on Relay for Life.
“I understand the draw that T-Pain has, and it’s a phenomenal thing because not many campuses can boast that they bring artists like that, but it’s too bad that people have to make a choice for one or the other,” Park said.
Richie Pizano, director of the concerts committee for Program Board, said he would prefer the events not be held on the same day but noted that there could be a positive side to the situation.
“Having both on the same day does hinder both events,” Pizano said. “But at the same time, not everyone is at one event at the same time. If students are already on campus, it’s easy to move back and forth, so it does help.”
The events were held concurrently last year after event organizers mistakenly booked the same day.
“Last year, we didn’t really know that they were on the same day,” Worthington said. “We didn’t think about Springfest and were focused on planning [Relay for Life]. We found out the month before.”
This year, organizers had hoped to better coordinate the two events, but they failed to communicate clearly with each other and the two events are once again scheduled for the same day.
“It was more individual efforts,” Worthington said. “We didn’t contact Program Board first semester, but we looked it up online.”
Pizano said the date for Springfest has been set since May.
“I think the two parties didn’t communicate because it just didn’t occur to us [in May],” Pizano said. “It was pure coincidence.”
Worthington said Relay for Life organizers looked up the Springfest date online before choosing a date for the walkathon but thought Springfest was a different weekend.
By the time the two groups realized their events would coincide, it was too late.
“We use the track, and we have to find time when the track team has an away meet. We also work around Swim with Mike and Songfest,” Worthington said.
Pizano said it’s very difficult to reschedule an event on McCarthy Quad after a date has been booked because it’s a very popular venue.
Beyond attendance, Park said she is concerned about the possibility of Springfest’s main performance conflicting with Relay for Life’s luminaria ceremony, when participants light candles and honor those who have battled cancer.
The luminaria ceremony, Park said, is typically one of the most moving parts of the event, and she does not want it to be interrupted by music from Springfest.
Last year, organizers for both groups coordinated so that no performers would be on during the ceremony, but they have yet to reach any kind of agreement this year.
Many students said they think it is unfortunate that the two events conflict again this year.
“I would definitely go to both if they were on separate days, but because Springfest has T-Pain, which I feel is a bigger draw; I’ll probably go there instead,” said Sommer Sorensen, a junior majoring in anthropology.
Brooke Nixt, a sophomore majoring in business administration, agreed.
“It’s too bad that the events are conflicting because Relay for Life is such an important cause,” she said. “I feel like Springfest might draw people away.”
In the future, organizers for both events said they would communicate to prevent double-booking the same day.
“People do bring it up, and it’s unfortunate, but I can’t do anything about it,” Pizano said. “In the future, the two parties should start communicating. We continuously book a year in advance, so Relay should check with us.”
“It’s an unfortunate occurrence,” she said. “There should be more awareness about when each event is taking place.”