Later this month, the “You Are I” music festival is being launched by the University of Rhode Island to combat food insecurity and connect students across all three of the University’s campuses.
The idea for the festival was inspired by Hempfest, which was last held at URI two years ago, but was defunded. In its place, student organizations URI Flow and the Electronic Music Association each held their own separate festivals, but both organizations wanted to create a sense of collaboration and community that would extend beyond their groups.
As a result, URI Flow and EMA teamed up with the Musician’s Guild and the Student Entertainment Committee to create an event that would take the place of Hempfest but with a different message: a fun event for students of all different backgrounds and interests to connect with one another and with the campus community.
With a little under 15,000 undergraduate students spread out over three campuses and over 100 student clubs and organizations, it can sometimes be difficult for students at URI to connect with their peers.
“I think at URI, a lot of the time, it seems a bit less social than some other schools,” said General EMA member Julia Eisenstein. “So to have a fun event that’s outside with music and food, it can help bring people together, have a fun time with their friends, and make new friends.”
The majority of the festival will feature both acoustic and amplified music performances from EMA and the Musician’s Guild on a professionally decorated stage.
Alongside student performances, the festival will also feature a few major headliners, including “A Great Big Pile of Leaves,” an indie rock band from Brooklyn, New York and Tsimba, an artist based out of New Haven, Connecticut who combines naturalistic and new-age influences to create otherworldly music.
Aside from music, there are a variety of other activities scheduled for students to take part in. URI Flow will be organizing dance, juggling, swinging, acrobatics, acoustic jamming, interactive art and other activities. There will also be several student clubs displays, art vendors and merchandise. Additionally, food trucks from Boru Barbecue, the Inside Scoop and Del’s Lemonade will be available for students.
In addition to bringing students together, the music festival also strives to benefit the surrounding community. Though the festival is free of cost, students are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Rhody Outpost, the local food pantry whose mission is to battle food insecurity at URI.
“The biggest thing that I want people to understand is that students actually have a lot of power and say in what they could have,” said Yuton Chen, treasurer of EMA. “I want to see more students doing student organizations because I feel like most entertainment activities are done by the Student Entertainment Committee. I want to inspire people to see that if they want something to happen, it’s very likely they can do it. Really, this festival is ‘by students, for students.’”
The You Are I music festival will run from 3:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Friday, April 12 and 4:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 13 on the Quadrangle.