Granoff All Night Music Festival to include a range of Tufts musicians, performance groups this weekend

BEATs is set to play as one of many varied music acts at the Granoff All Night Music Festival, this Friday starting at 9 p.m. Evan Sayles / Evan Sayles Photography

The second annual Granoff All Night Music Festival will be held this Friday, March 27. The event, which features over 30 student groups performing back-to-back, will run from 9:30 p.m. Friday night to 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning in various spaces within the Granoff Music Center.

The festival will be free and open to the general public. Its performers span all genres from a capella — Tufts groups Amalgamates and Enchanted, for example — to the New England Conservatory Afrobeat Project and The Jumbo Knish Factory. A few independent acts, like student bands Shark Saddle and Like Wolves, will also be taking the stage.

“It’s a good place for all the performance groups to come together and play under one roof,” said Mika Sanger, a sophomore in Tufts Wind Ensemble. “We don’t only perform for ourselves, but to interact with the other musicians. It’s also just a fun excuse to listen to music all night.”

Though the Tufts Department of Music is hosting the event, the night isn’t limited to musical acts only. A full range of performers, including HYPE Mimez troupe and improvisational group Cheap Sox, are featured in the lineup.

“We’re planning on rehearsing and performing some of our best older skits,” said Dominik Doemer, a second-year member of HYPE, which is scheduled for a 1:30 a.m. timeslot. He mentioned that some of the more theatrical student groups, like the mimes, tried to incorporate the event’s musical theme into their show.

“We performed last year, and had some live music, as well,” he said. “Some of the mimes play piano and the drums, and it went over really well, so we’re going to do it again this year. It’ll be a good time.”

According to the Department, one of the primary goals of the festival was to be an inclusive event for student ensembles. With the exception of a few clubs with time constraints, even those groups on the waitlist were able to join the show. The artists set to perform include: Enchanted, Amalgamates, “Weird Jeff” Rawitsch, HYPE Mimez, Kiniwe & Agbekor Society, Baby Grand Quartet, Shir Appeal, Elizabeth Reian Bennett, A Doll’s House, Strings ‘n’ Things, Tufts Wind Ensemble, The Jumbo Knish Factory, Cheap Sox, Like Wolves, Tufts Monday Night Small Jazz Ensemble, New England Conservatory Afrobeat Project, James Roseman, GRIZZY, Plastic Minx, Peter Stone, i-nu, Shark Saddle, Rob Wallace, Maevey, The Drunken Noodles, Paul Lehrman, Conor Hearn and Steven Manwaring, Wakana, Gamelan Laras Tentrem & Tufts Javanese Gamelan Ensemble, B.E.A.T.s and more.

“All groups are welcome to perform,” said Music Department Administrator Lucille Jones, who started the festival last year. “Ultimately, we were able to include everyone who submitted their act for consideration …we really tried to make sure that everyone who wanted to participate was offered a slot.”

This is all part of a broader effort to get the greater student body involved with and excited about Tufts’ flourishing music scene, which is rife with an incredibly wide range of dedicated performers. Before putting the festival together, the Department of Music noticed a dearth of support for (and even knowledge of) these many student groups.

“As we found out last year, many students didn’t even know what Granoff was,” said Jones. “This is an opportunity for anyone and everyone who wants to play or just listen to different types of music to come and enjoy this space.”

The All Night Music Festival also offers a lively alternative to the usual Friday-night party scene, which Jones predicted students might often see as their only option.

“Last year, one student said that he didn’t know he could have this much fun without alcohol,” she said. “It was definitely a real alternative to ‘clubbing’ because we had a room dedicated to dancing and live music.”

Music Department Staff Assistant Danna Solomon, who helped coordinate the festival, emphasized the department’s goal to facilitate this lively, communal atmosphere.

“It’s a fun chance for students to come together to make and enjoy music, and it will absolutely be a party,” she said. “Maybe they’ll even discover a new group or genre that will become their favorite.”

Solomon added that she thinks it’s vital for students to come out and see the results of their friends’ and peers’ hard work, especially on a night when everyone is onstage together.

“It’s important that the students support each other in their artistic endeavors, so we hope students come to watch their friends perform, hang out and dance,” Solomon said.

The festival will also be co-sponsored by the Office of the President and catered by a slew of local eateries: Nick’s House of Pizza, Island Creations, Wingz n Thingz, Pinky’s Pizza, True Grounds and Espresso Pizza, to name a few.

“President Monaco thought it would be a good idea to have it as an annual event,” noted Jones. “A special thanks goes to the President for helping us fund [the festival] this year.”

The music festival’s coordination required a full planning committee, made up of student volunteers hand picked by the Music Department who have been meeting for a month or so leading up to this weekend.

“Their creativity and drive has been totally invaluable to this process, and they’ve been working really hard to make sure this event is awesome,” said Solomon of student committee members: senior Maeve Bell-Thornton, senior Ruben Sonz-Barnes, junior Sedef Seker, senior Peter Atkinson, senior DJ Joseph and sophomore Nia Hamilton.

Also helping out are Coordinator of Music Public Relations and Events Anna Griffis, Chair John McDonald and Manager of Events Jeffrey “Weird Jeff” Rawitsch, who sings with the Concert Choir and will be performing himself.

“A hobby of mine is to write song parodies à la my idol, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, for friends, family and co-workers,” Rawitsch said. Rawitsch has performed these songs at different venues. “[This includes] a set of songs about child development theories that I have performed for classes in the Child Study and Development Department,” he explained.

Rawitsch mentioned that he will be starting off with an original parody about the festival, to the tune of “a pop song that came out a couple of years ago.”

“I can say hands down that the All Night Music Festival is the most exciting event we put on all year, because it is the only music department-sponsored event that incorporates non-department performing groups and student bands and solo musicians,” he added. “Last year, the music building had this great buzz and energy from the beginning of the festival and into the wee hours, and it was a quite a sight to behold.”

“It is a massive team effort,” said Jones, who, alongside Solomon, Griffis and Rawitsch, will be overseeing the festival all the way up until 3 a.m., or however late the event ends up going.

“We split all of the duties, from publicity and catering to organizing the 50-plus volunteers and staff who will work the event,” she said.

Solomon and Jones agreed that the entire department is very much looking forward to seeing how the night unfolds.

“I am excited to see what spontaneous music-making happens on Friday,” Solomon said. “Last year, we had a lot of people bring their instruments and jam together, and the results were really exciting and magical. I can’t wait to see what the students come out with this year!”