WNUR, the student-run radio station at 89.3 FM, has already begun the process of gathering artists for the second stage, named this year after its sponsor IndieU, a technology and music company based in Chicago.
The radio station hopes to bring “a diverse group of four to five up-and-coming artists” to the IndieU Stage, in a move that will advance the size and scope of Dillo Day toward that of the large public music festivals that have been rising in popularity in recent years.
“We want to use the relationships that we’ve built with artists in Chicago and our knowledge of the scene and bring rising artists who are really relevant locally and probably in a couple of years will be well known to the second stage,” said WNUR General Manager Soren Nelson.
The collaboration between the radio station and Mayfest — the student group in charge of organizing Dillo Day — began in the fall, Nelson said, after many radio managers recognized the second stage was a great opportunity for their student group to get involved. As the radio station lacks the funds or mission to bring acts to campus, Nelson said “the blending of resources is really very optimal, so we were really happy we all thought of it together.”
Weinberg senior Xander Shepherd, Co-Chair of Mayfest, said the collaboration has been very successful so far and is beneficial to everyone, from the students attending the festival to the organizers.
“For us it’s a great expansion of our programming from a content standpoint,” said Weinberg senior Xander Shepherd, Co-Chair of Mayfest. “This was a no brainer for us in terms of expanding the types of diverse music offerings that we can promote to our student campus.”
Shepherd said this arrangement allows Mayfest to focus on strengthening the main stage programming while letting the radio station expand on the potential of the second stage.
The IndieU Stage will host artists during set changes on the Main Stage, creating a lineup of non-stop entertainment on the Lakefill, as was planned last year before rain delayed performances. Mayfest organizers hope the continuous music will keep festivalgoers on the Lakefill, both enhancing the safety and improving the quality of the festival.
Because of the continuous lineup, Nelson said the radio station will plan the second stage acts to compliment the performances on the main stage.
“At WNUR our only mission is to represent underrepresented music,” said Nick Harwood, a WNUR producer in charge of booking for Dillo Day. “So the only qualifier for the music that we want to bring to the IndieU Stage is they might be artists that you’ve never heard of. But generally you can definitely expect something not so dissimilar from the main stage, but just artists with less mainstream attention on them.”
In the second stage’s premiere last year, the student bands Ric Cross and Mariachi NU performed and the stage hosted a yoga class. Shepherd said Mayfest wanted to “start off small” to test how the stage would work, and its success last year inspired expanded programming this year.
Shepherd said Mayfest hopes to continue their partnership with WNUR to keep elaborating on the second stage to get “bigger and better going down the road.”