Mayfest Productions released its official policies for Dillo Day 2016, outlining logistics regarding wristband sales and emergency weather procedures, on Friday, April 1. And no, it was not an April Fool’s joke.
The policies, which address problems that arose last year and in years prior when inclement weather conditions had disrupted the student-organized music festival’s programming, detail this year’s usage of a sturdier stage and a new event insurance plan in case of cancellation, among other things. Mayfest also announced its wristband registration dates and processes, which will begin on Monday, April 11 for all Northwestern undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, as well as undergraduates’ guests.
The policies are especially anticipated this year, following last year’s cancellation of Dillo Day due to harsh wind conditions that made both stages on the Lakefill too unstable for performers. In the new policies, Mayfest notes that the student organization retains the right to delay, postpone or cancel the festival, in the case of unusually dangerous weather conditions like those of last year.
The new stage, a Stageline 320 mobile stage, is not completely weatherproof when confronted with storms like that of Dillo Day 2015, but it’s safer than previously used stages, according to Mayfest officials. The recently purchased insurance plan, though Mayfest hopes not to make a claim, ensures that if Dillo Day were to be cancelled again, the substantial funds required to plan and host the music festival would be re-obtained and put toward another cause benefitting the student body. Wristbands would remain non-refundable.
Mayfest also announced in the policies that there will be no backup venue to use in case of emergency. Though student officials considered moving the festival to Welsh-Ryan Arena during last year’s Dillo Day when police and fire officials advised cancelling Lakefill performances, investigation over the past year concluded in the decision that the venue is not large enough, and that moving the stage from the Lakefill would be too difficult.
Finally, guest wristband registration this year will be spread out over six registration times to ensure that students have equal opportunities to purchase guest wristbands, which are available in limited quantity. Wristband distribution in Norris will begin on Saturday, May 14.
Mayfest officials noted that last year’s weather conditions were not the only time the music festival, which began in 1972, had been impacted by storms. As recent as Dillo Day 2013, the festival was delayed by lightning.
“These policies are definitely not reactionary. They’ve been in the works since I’ve been around,” said Mayfest co-director of promotions Elisa O’Neal, a SESP senior. “That’s something we think about as an organization all the time. It’s not just looking at last year and thinking how can we fix all of our mistakes or fill all of these gaps. It really is a gradual process toward addressing many issues we’ve come across in recent years."