Construction and administrative decisions created challenges for the 46th annual Spring Fair, which took place last weekend.
Spring Fair organizers had to relocate vendors from their usual location on Keyser Quad. They also moved the Friday night concert, featuring A$AP Ferg and Steve Aoki, to an off-campus venue at Ram’s Head Live!.
Spring Fair is the largest student-run festival in the country. Open to both Hopkins students and the Baltimore community, it featured live music, arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, a beer garden and other activities.
In previous years, Spring Fair hosted its concerts on the Homewood practice field. Freshman Camille Bowman, a Spring Fair staff member, explained why the University did not allow the concert to take place on campus.
“We had to have the concert at Ram’s Head, because they wouldn’t let us use the practice field, since they spent a lot of money redoing the turf,” she said.
Although Spring Fair provided free transportation to the concert via JHMI shuttles, some students like sophomore Ryan Dens said that while students were able to get to the venue easily, the off-campus location caused confusion.
“There was a little bit of a craze to get onto the buses,” Dens said. “Everyone thought they were going to miss the event but there ended up being plenty of buses.”
Sophomore Sanat Deshpande echoed Dens’ complaint about the concert’s relocation and felt concerned about student safety.
“Some people were getting really really rowdy and trying to push and shove, so that wasn’t too fun,” Desphande said. “That was definitely a low point of the night.”
“It was kind of out of the way. They did have JHMI’s going to the concert so that was pretty nice, but it was still much more convenient having it on the practice field last year.“
Deshpande also said that getting into the event was difficult. Since the venue only had two entrances, students had to file through metal detectors one at a time.
Both Dens and Deshpande expressed concerns that the buses returning to campus were not well organized. As a result, many students took alternative transportation home.
“Getting us all back was a little bit trickier because the buses dropped us off in two different locations,” Desphande said. “It was kind of confusing figuring out where to hop on to get back, and a lot of people just ended up ubering back anyways. Other than that I think they did a pretty fine job.”
Freshman Kopal Bansal also described people shoving at the concert, though she felt such behavior was to be expected given the large crowds.
“The concert was a lot of fun,” she said. “I was in the mosh-pit area so I was being shoved around, and one of my friends ended up on the floor.”
Along with moving the concert off campus, Spring Fair also had to reconfigure some of the events because of construction and other University property maintenance.
“We had a lot of trouble getting some of the areas for Spring Fair,” Bowman said. “Last summer [the University] did a lot of work on freshman quad fixing the grass and fixing all the bricks, so they were really unwilling to have food on freshman quad… That’s why the food trucks were on the Beach this year, because they didn’t want them driving on campus.”
In addition, the arts and crafts vendors that are normally housed on Gilman Quad had to be relocated. Bowman said that Spring Fair already had an established system for organizing vendors on Gilman, but because of construction, the staff had to reorganize the vendors and create new plots.
“We moved [the vendors] between Mudd, Dunning and Remsen,” she said. “So we had to go out and measure from scratch this year, which was a lot but it worked out.”
While there were some complications this year for attendees and staff, students spoke positively of the fair.
“It’s really big and super fun, and it’s nice to see tons of people come and enjoy Spring Fair,” Bowman said.
Dens said that he appreciated being able to enjoy the nice weather.
“It was kind of the first stretch of good weather we had, and it corresponded with a time where finals are a little bit off, but midterms are done so everyone was just in a much more relaxed mood,” he said.
Grace Troy, a freshman, liked the atmosphere of Spring Fair.
“Spring fair was a very fun time to be on campus,” she wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “Everyone was outside enjoying the weather and all the Spring Fair activities.”
Other students, such as senior Treva Obbard, felt that it was not as convenient having Spring Fair right before the last week of classes.
“Honestly, I didn’t have much time for it,” Obbard said, “I get that it’s supposed to be a kind of last hurrah before finals, but I always already have so many final projects due, I’m just swamped.”