The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

IN PHOTOS: Rites of Spring 2023

Rites spectators showed up, rain and shine, to party it up with superstars Muni Long, Dayglow, Sean Kingston, A$AP Ferg and more
Dayglow+performs+in+the+rain+at+Rites+of+Spring+on+Alumni+Lawn%2C+as+photographed+on+April+21%2C+2023.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FSara+West%29
Sara West
Dayglow performs in the rain at Rites of Spring on Alumni Lawn, as photographed on April 21, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)

With final exams around the corner, Vanderbilt students were due for a weekend of playing hard before working hard in the libraries. The 37th annual Rites of Spring concert took place on Alumni Lawn from April 21-22.

The first night included a headline set from Dayglow, along with performances from Muni Long, Coco Jones and Edgehill. Performers on the second night included Yaubryon, Maude Latour, Sean Kingston and Ferg, who each tapped into fun, different vibes from the past two decades.

After a survey in the fall gauging the interests of the student body for this year’s lineup, in mid-March, Vanderbilt Programming Board released then subsequently took down the list of performers, which turned out to be the official lineup.

Night one

In the spirit of celebrating the end of the year, students and Nashvillians came together for a final hurrah despite the cold, rainy weather on the first night of Rites.

The night’s first act was Edgehill, a local indie band composed of four Vanderbilt students. Many of the faces in the crowd were friends and fans of the members of Edgehill, with one even holding up an “I love you, Jimmer” sign over the barricades for guitarist Jake Zimmerman.

Lead vocalist Chris Kelly, along with the rest of the band, hyped the crowd up with dynamic and expressive presence on stage. The band performed singles such as “Lookaround” and “Shooting Glances,” both of which filled the lawn with the timeless resonance of alternative rock.

After Edgehill’s set, the audience scattered across Alumni Lawn to find cover from the rain. Some hid out in the porta potties or under food truck awnings near the back of the lawn. 

The lights and stage were rearranged for “Let It Shine” star Coco Jones to take the stage, and a larger crowd began to pool together in front of the barricade. Jones took the stage at 7 p.m. wearing a shimmery black outfit.

Jones seized the perfect opportunity to sing “Rain” as she looked up at the sky and pointed at fans in the crowd, who belted the lyrics of her song back to her. Her set showcased a mature R&B sound, deviating from her past as a Disney Channel star.

A DJ set revitalized the energy of the crowd before Muni Long came out in a matching pink, black and white set with cutouts. Not even the downpour could put a damper on the energy she brought to the stage. She hyped up the crowd by busting some dance moves in between her more soulful hits like “Hrs & Hrs” and “Time Machine.”

“I vividly remember [Muni Long] saying, ‘A lot of people think that R&B is dead now,’ and then a lot of people in the crowd started yelling, ‘R&B is not dead,’” senior Yanni Zhang said. “It was a very memorable night because of the R&B spirit and her pure passion for music.”

After Muni Long’s set, attendees started to pack the lawn for the highly-anticipated headliner: Dayglow. Fans were excited to see him headline a show on campus after his November 2022 show in Nashville. Dayglow appeared on stage in a simple, striped shirt and jeans, accompanied by a band of four.

The strobe lights pierced through the darkness and downpour, illuminating the wet audience in the mosh pit. They screamed along to the band’s indie staple song, “Hot Rod” and their most popular track, “Can I Call You Tonight?”

Dayglow handled the night’s hurdles like a seasoned pro, putting on a poncho to protect him from the rain and playing it cool during a technical difficulty. In good fun, he asked the audience if it was anyone’s birthday and led the band in an indie-rock version of the “Happy Birthday” song.

The rain had stopped by the encore, and the musicians reappeared with ponchos off. To close out the night, Dayglow performed “Close To You,” a euphoric send-off to the soaking but smiling people in the audience.

Night two

The night’s first opener was Vanderbilt senior Yaubryon Chambers, who rapped some of her empowering hip-hop tracks like “Bout That” and “Talk.” An intimate crowd gathered around the stage as she rocked out, with occasional dance breaks accompanied by two backup dancers.

“This felt like the perfect experience to culminate my time at Vanderbilt,” Chambers said in an interview with The Hustler after the festival. “I’m so grateful for the friends and family that were a part of making my time on stage so special!”

Up next was Maude Latour, who took the stage in a front-knotted, 90s retro Mazzy Star shirt layered over a shimmery, chainmail long-sleeve. The recent Columbia-graduate-turned-pop star exuded fun, youthful energy. Her lyrics were instantly relatable as she sang about experiencing love as a young adult in “Strangers Forever” and “Superfruit.”

Latour’s charismatic stage presence shined through as the star “anchored down” during her set to get the crowd hyped up and wished everyone good luck for the end of the year. She then jumped over the barricade and into the crowd to dance with the packed group of concertgoers. The audience responded immediately, energized by her spirit to dance alongside the star.

During her set, Latour took time to address legislation in Tennessee that targets queer people and women — a huge topic of discussion for performers in Music City for the past few months. She told the seniors to enjoy their final weekend of college before playing her most popular hit, “One More Weekend.”

The crowd chattered excitedly and cheered Sean Kingston’s name right before he stepped on stage. The iconic 33-year-old Jamaican rapper performed throwback hits including “Eenie Meenie” and “Fire Burning.” Kingston then doubled down on the nostalgia with a cover of IYAZ’s “Replay.”

After his set, Kingston stepped off the stage and met screaming fans at the gate. Ferg walked on stage wearing a graphic concert tee and leather jacket combo. His performance led attendees on the lawn to groove along to his hits “Work REMIX” and “Shabba.”

Ferg talked to the audience between songs, telling all the “pretty girls” in the crowd to get on a pair of shoulders. Students responded to the challenge as they got on people’s shoulders and began to sprout out of the sea of faces.

Later in his set, Ferg stepped off-stage and stood against the barricades to hold concertgoers’ hands and conduct the crowd to move to the beat of his music. Accompanied by bodyguards in yellow jackets, he made his way through the pit to interact with every corner of the lawn.

At the night’s end, Ferg performed “Plain Jane,” the hit from 2017 that launched him to hip-hop stardom. Fans jumped around, moshed and screamed every word — maintaining the same energy on Alumni from the beginning of Rites on Friday night all the way ‘til the end on Saturday night.

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About the Contributors
Eigen Escario, Former Staff Photographer
Eigen Escario ('26) is from Birmingham, Alabama. He is majoring in human and organizational development with a double major in computer science and minoring in business in Peabody College. In his spare time, Eigen enjoys taking ballroom lessons with his friends and handling the livestream for Vandy Ice Hockey.
Sara West, Senior Staff Photographer
Sara West ('25) is majoring in psychology in the College of Arts and Science and human and organizational development in Peabody College. Sara loves going to concerts, thrifting and exploring new places. She was previously Deputy Photography Director and hopes to enter the music industry after graduating.  She can be reached at [email protected].

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