Tufts Relay for Life to host spring Jumbonnaroo this weekend

 Tufts Relay for Life will host the spring Jumbonnaroo music festival at Zeta Psi, Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp) and Theta Delta Chi (TDX) this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

According to Ben Silver, special events co-chair for Tufts Relay for Life and founder of Jumbonnaroo, the purpose of the music festival is to promote and raise money for Relay for Life on April 10.

“[Jumbonnaroo] helps Relay for Life market itself through music,” Silver, a junior, said.

Andrew Nitirouth, one of the co-philanthropy chairs at TDX and a member of the subcommittee for ceremonies and survivorship for Tufts Relay for Life, explained that Jumbonnaroo parallels Relay for Life in that both events bring people from all ends of campus together to fight back against cancer.

“Relay is really about three things: remembering those who have lost their battles, celebrating those who have overcome and fighting back with those who are still fighting,” Nitirouth, also a junior, said. 

Nitirouth added that as a cancer survivor, he is proud to be working to fight cancer with his fraternity through Jumbonnaroo and Relay for Life.

“[Jumbonnaroo] is a great way to get word out for Relay,” Nitirouth said. “It raises awareness and opens up dialogue … and it showcases Tufts musicians.”

Silver explained that the festival creates a different social atmosphere, with people outside of Greek life coming to the fraternity houses. He said that the diversity in music attracts more people to the event, and the festival tries to represent as many types of talent as possible.

He added that Jumbonnaroo gives smaller groups the opportunity to perform in front of many people.

“It’s really cool to see different crowds getting together,” Anna Kaplan, the bass player in Market Basket, one of the featured bands, said. She added that she is excited for the opportunity to play at TDX.

“We played at Alpha Tau Omega last fall for Jumbonnaroo, and that was a blast,” she said.

Kaplan, a junior, explained that JumBonnaroo is a great opportunity for Market Basket — which she described as “your favorite middle school basement cover band” — to play for a new crowd and get on the fraternity scene.

“I hope that [Jumbonnaroo] gets our name out there, and we can get hired to play more gigs,” Kaplan said.

Silver noted that the fraternities donate their houses as a resource, and in exchange, all financial proceeds go to the fraternity’s Relay for Life team and to the American Cancer Society.

“This provides an incentive for [the fraternities] to participate,” he said.

Silver also explained that previously, Tufts Relay for Life’s promotional event was a ticketed fraternity party known as Party for Life. Since he took over the event last year, Jumbonaroo has become a music festival that uses fewer fraternity houses and runs in both the fall and spring semesters.

“There is something for everyone [at Jumbonnaroo],” Silver said.

Nitirouth, who will be DJing at TDX on Saturday night, feels that Jumbonnaroo will build on its past success and continue to raise awareness for Relay for Life.

For his part, Silver said that he hopes to expand Jumbonnaroo into off-campus venues such as The Burren in Davis Square. “I don’t want to restrict [Jumbonnaroo] to Greek organizations,” he explained.

“I want to create more spaces for live music,” Silver said. “People are clamoring for live music played by Tufts musicians.”

He added that the musicians are working hard on their sets and live performances in the weeks leading up to the event.

“I want to help make Tufts a little more fun … and if I can guarantee that for $15, I’ve done my job,” Silver said.


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