40th Floralia; Budgeting for More than Hay

40 years ago, Floralia was little more than an informal spring gathering of Connecticut College students. Now, as its anniversary approaches, it is clear that the event has evolved into much more, and those who coordinate it aim to keep the changes coming. Regarding Floralia’s evolution, chair of Student Activities Council (SAC) Jeff Celniker ’17 stated: “it has really become a professional music festival where students are expecting, and kind of demanding, artists to perform.” This year’s Floralia promises to be impressive, with a packed line-up of nationally and internationally known artists and a corresponding production value. The performers, who will be announced one at a time by SAC every Thursday, represent a wide range of genres, covering music styles such as hip-hop, rock, alternative rock, pop, EDM, dream pop, country and more.

“I know we’re really excited about the line-up; it should be one of the most diverse line-ups we’ve ever add,” said Geoff Norbert, Associate Dean for Student Engagement and co-chair of the Floralia Safety Working Group. Celniker elaborated on the production value of the event this year, explaining that SAC is “basically doubling the budget for production” and planning production further in advance. Celnicker also mentioned the additions of a runway stage and an Emcee to Floralia, noting that “the host will connect the whole show together. We’re looking to do 5-10 minute turnarounds [between acts] but he’ll be making that time part of the show; he’s a stand-up comedian so he’ll be talking to people, making jokes.”

Both Norbert and Celniker specified that SAC and other offices contributing to the massive spring event are hoping to put more time and thought into so-called “novelty items” and other non-concert aspects of Floralia.

Celnicker hinted at potential and ideally interactive novelty items by commenting: “I’d love to see a big graffiti wall. I don’t know if you should be expecting a roller coaster, but something where you can engage.”  

Students can also thank Ariana Pazmino ’18, SGA Chair of Sustainability, and the Sustainable Projects Fund (SPF) for allowing SAC to allocate more time, resources and money to the non-concert, non-logistical aspects of Floralia. SGA recently passed three resolutions which granted almost $20,000 from the SPF to the Floralia budget. Pazmino explained that the funding will go toward “portable restrooms that don’t use harmful chemicals or dispose of the waste harmfully, as well as fencing and signage that can be reused over the years. That’ll be one big purchase this year with the hopes that the materials will be used in the coming years.” The SPF funding will also be used to purchase hay and contract food trucks.

About the food trucks, Pazmino said: “We’re trying to take into consideration Halal, kosher, vegetarian and vegan options, as well as more types of ethnic food.”

Pazmino’s comments evidence a collaboration between the Office of Sustainability and SAC that is emblematic of Celniker’s efforts toward cosponsorship. Celniker attributed this collaboration in part to development within SAC, noting that “SAC has identified its strengths and its weaknesses.”

Celniker and Norbert were vague regarding the level of safety regulations to be expected compared to previous years. According to Norbert, the Floralia Safety Working Group “[has considered] a lot of different options to make sure that the event is kind of [held to the] standard [of a] professional festival.” Celniker also expects that Floralia will feel like a professional music festival, noting, “I think that you can’t have one without the other, so you can’t expect and demand high-quality artists without the other part of it, which is an area for the festival, security guards at the doors and at the stage, and also, what music festival has anyone ever attended where they can just bring in any sort of alcohol or drugs?” The specifics of coming Floralia precautions will be communicated as the event approaches.

Because this will be Floralia’s 40th anniversary, the festival’s coordinators hope to make the day fun and interesting for the entire student body. These efforts will hopefully make the event not only impressive, but also more accessible to a more varied crowd.

“[SAC] wants to make it the most appealing, diverse, cohesive event possible” Celnicker explained, “because it seems to have catered to a certain demographic in the past, and we want it to appeal to everyone.” This goal is reflected by the three artists who have been released so far: Ashworth, Mike Taylor and And the Kids, who represent a range of genres. For more information on the line-up names that have been released, students should consult the SAC Facebook page or the Voice’s Comunity Bulletin. •