Heads will roll at Crawfest 2017


Josh Christian | Staff Photographer

Crawfest 2016 attendees enjoy the event’s namesake food. This year marks the 11th Crawfest celebration, offering food, music and family friendly fun Saturday at the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life and Newcomb Quadrangles.

Warm weather, inconsistent precipitation and music in the air signal the return of a special time of year. It is the time of year when Crawfest materializes, becoming more than a fun fact mentioned by tour guides to sway prospective students.

Starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, this year’s Crawfest will mark the 11th consecutive year Tulane has transformed the Lavin-Bernick Center Quadrangle, and more recently the Newcomb Quadrangle, into a shellfish-themed extravaganza. The festival is free to Tulane students, and admission is $10 for the general public.

With tons of boiled crawfish, food trucks, merchandise and a diverse lineup of musicians, Crawfest has become one of the most popular on-campus events of the year.

“We give away a ton of free items that a lot of people don’t know about,” Crawfest Board Chair Barry Rubenstein said. “This year, we’re giving away beach towels with the Crawfest logo on it. All of our designs this year are hand-drawn by Tulane students, which is something we’ve never done before.”

The lineup boasts a medley of noteworthy artists, headlined by the progressive rock band Moon Taxi. A favorite at college campuses and music festivals in its 2017 circuit of shows, the band is known for its stage presence and spectacular live performances.

D.C.-area genre-bender RDGLDGRN brings a unique type of funk that incorporates old-school hip-hop along with rhythm and blues. With heavy emphasis on percussion and jamming, this band is one of the more exciting live acts on this year’s lineup.

R&B quintet Phony Ppl also hits the stage Saturday with a fusion of funk, pop, soul, hip-hop and live instrumentation. The group looks to promote its 2016 project “Yesterday’s Tomorrow,” an album Rolling Stone declared one of “15 Great Albums You Didn’t Hear in 2016.” With ties to Theophilius London, The Roots and Erykah Badu, Phony Ppl has garnered support from some of R&B’s biggest names. The group hopes to earn this respect from the Tulane community in its first performance at Crawfest.

Other acts featured in the student-run festival include Chicago-based indie soul band JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, Arkansas rockers Amasa Hines, soul singer LaTasha Lee and second-line veterans To Be Continued Brass Band.

The Bummers, a Tulane student band, will represent the school’s music community at Crawfest after being selected from a group of student bands in a vote last semester. True to its alternative rock and post-punk roots, The Bummers’ homegrown sound can be heard on its self-titled album available via Bandcamp.

With such a wide variety of music, food and merchandise, Crawfest remains a favorite tradition of the Tulane community. This year’s board hopes that the student body will take pride in the peer-driven festival once more.

“This is our festival,” Rubenstein said in reference to Crawfest’s organizers. “I think a lot of Tulane students almost feel like it’s their festival also. There might be me as a chair and the board of 22 other Tulane students that run the whole thing, but the reason it is successful is because every Tulane student comes out for eight hours on one day and just has a great time.”

Tulane’s quads have embraced this celebration of swamp-dwellers and music for over a decade, and first-time Crawfest goers should expect to have an experience they will not soon forget. Prior research into proper crawfish consumption is recommended.