Alberto Aroeste ‘13 and Emily Pollock ‘13, the co-chairs of the Stanford Concert Network (SCN), understand their role as the visionaries for a tradition that could potentially alter student life to an enormous degree, and the two convey a trust in the value of such an event to make ends meet as far as logistics go. “We believe tickets will sell out extremely quickly,” Aroeste said with regard to the struggle to ensure the festival a success. A successful show, he added, would put the SCN in great shape to hold a similar event next year.
In addition to setting up the Network for more great music in Stanford’s future, a sold out and accident-free festival would put rock music in Frost back into the good graces of the university. Administrators put an end to rock music in Frost in 1971 and then ended all Frost concerts in the Fall of 1972 due to violence caused by a lack of security measures, as reported by Ivan Maisel in a piece for Stanford Magazine.
At a school where academic reputation keeps the marching band from playing in the libraries for an hour during finals week, a lack of significant mishap could be vital in ensuring that popular music keeps its home on campus for good.
With events like Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival gaining steam as pilgrimages for music aficionados and adventurous college students alike, the demand for a gathering like Frost Revival has grown not only within the last few years, but even in the past months, with rumors remaining highly speculative until the lineup was announced last month.
Many Stanford students will be making their first trip to Frost, and many may have to check a map in order to find it. The 20-acre amphitheater that was once filled every year for commencement now lies in waiting in the shadow of the performing arts center currently under construction on Campus Drive.
The lineup features Modest Mouse, the Washingtonian indie group credited with bringing indie music to a wider radio audience with hits like 2004’s “Float On,” the lead single off of that year’s Good News for People Who Love Bad News. Eyes Lips Eyes are true up-and-comers, but boast an infectious pop rock sound that contains elements of Modest Mouse’s indie style. Fitting into another subcategory of the indie genre is Benjamin Francis Leftwich, an English songwriter whose melodious picked guitars and voice will provide a relaxing set for the crowd at Frost.
The SCN’s website makes no attempt to hide the upcoming concert’s ties to the days in which the Grateful Dead made a yearly visit to Frost, with the likes of Miles Davis, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Joan Baez also making appearances. Additionally, the site makes a point to advertise SCN’s hope that the popularity and audience of Frost Revival will reach beyond the Stanford community.
“Rekindling the tradition Stanford loved when the Grateful Dead graced the stage,” the ad reads, “Stanford students and the entire Bay Area will be able to experience the magic of Frost Amphitheater at a major student-produced concert this May.”
And so it seems that Frost Revival, in the eyes of its promoters, will not only be a day in the May sun listening to the old pros of Modest Mouse as well as two promising up-and-coming acts.
It will also be a celebration of a culture once known to the Farm that has slipped away: Stanford students providing live music for their peers as well as the surrounding community, a hearkening back to the days when the Bay Area helped to create that very culture.