With days till Dillo, Mayfest digs in to prepare for The Roots

    When Mayfest Director of Concerts Liz Korutz found out Tuesday that a band dropped out of the Dillo Day lineup, she said she stood up in class, told the professor that Motion City Soundtrack had canceled and walked out of the room. She arrived at Mayfest’s office on the third floor of Norris to find a room full of staffers ready to find a solution.

    “It was totally chaotic, it’s our nightmare,” said Korutz, a Medill senior. “[But] all these people came in to brainstorm.”

    After compiling lists of potential acts and checking Ticketmaster and Pollstar to see who was touring in the area or who could make it, “we crossed off who wouldn’t work and it looked like The Roots were the best option,” Korutz said.

    Mayfest organizers announced Tuesday evening that they verbally confirmed that hip hop group The Roots would play on Dillo Day mid-afternoon. Based out of Philadelphia, the Grammy-award winning group headlined the A&O Ball in 2004. Korutz said the contracts officially booking the concert would “hopefully” be sent to the band tomorrow.

    Mayfest was already in the process of contacting three other lesser-known bands to add to the Dillo Day lineup when Motion City Soundtrack canceled, Korutz said. Since these three bands were “more niche-audience” and it was easier to pursue one contract instead of three, Mayfest organizers decided to pool the money to pursue The Roots, “simply because it was the week of [Dillo Day] and it was a good option,” Korutz said.

    “We would’ve been unable to secure The Roots if Motion City Soundtrack didn’t cancel, so we’re looking at it as a blessing,” said Mayfest co-chair Hillary Robbie, a Communication junior.

    Robbie said Mayfest started hearing rumors around 3 p.m. on Tuesday that they were likely to book The Roots for Dillo Day. When the band verbally confirmed around 6 p.m., the packed office erupted into an “instantaneous roar,” Korutz said.

    “The Roots complete a lineup that represents campus and [fill] out the day,” Korutz said.

    Confirming a band so close to Dillo Day doesn’t leave producers and others with much time to make necessary preparations, said Weinberg sophomore Diana Richter, Mayfest’s co-producer for The Roots concert.

    “A lot needs to happen in three days — hopefully in one day, so we can have it all set,” Richter said. “Because of the size of the group and the numbers of individuals they travel with, it’s a challenge production-wise, because organizing that many people is always a challenge. It would’ve been a challenge with three months but with three days… [But] The Roots are pros; they’ve played at tons of colleges.”

    Richter also emphasized how well she thought The Roots would work as Dillo Day performers.

    “They put the cherry on the sundae,” Richter said. “For festivals, you kind of deserve to have a jam-type of atmosphere. They blend hip hop with rock, which spans fans across the genres.”

    Still, Korutz said the time crunch makes preparations stressful.

    “We’re still reeling, there’s still work to do,” Korutz said. “The process usually takes us months, one to two usually. To do it in a week… I keep telling committees ‘It will get done because it has to.’”


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