Ludacris, Neon Indian, Cults to bring variety to Summer Breeze

By Linda Qiu

Ludacris, Neon Indian, and Cults will headline this year’s Summer Breeze on May 19 in Hutch Courtyard, the Major Activities Board (MAB) announced this morning.

In contrast to last year’s “dancey” lineup, MAB sought a hip-hop artist as the headliner this year with Ludacris as the first choice, according to fourth-year MAB president Sam Abbott.

“We were lucky we were able to pin him down early. That gave us time to focus on the other two slots,” he said. “We got to bide our time.”

After securing Ludacris, MAB was also able to procure Neon Indian, their electronica first choice, resulting in an “atypical” year for the board. Though MAB initially wanted a rock group for the third slot, Abbott is confident that indie pop band Cults will give a good show.

Ludacris will constitute a good chunk of MAB’s budget, but his fame answers a persisting student demand for prominent musical acts, according to Abbott.

“Everyone wants a big name,” he said, “[Ludacris] is the man, and the other bands are gaining more and more name recognition.”

Neon Indian was named one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s hottest new bands of 2010 and its first album, Psychic Chasms, found a place on Pitchfork’s 2009 Top 20. Cults’ self-titled debut album earned an 8.5 rating on Pitchfork. Both bands played shows at the Metro in Chicago in April and will return for Pitchfork Music Festival and Lollapalooza respectively this summer.

Tickets to this year’s Summer Breeze will be $20, a $5 markup from previous years. However, MAB feels that the cost difference is worth it for the bigger names.

Last year, heavy rain moved Summer Breeze into Mandel Hall and forced MAB to refund 1,000 of 2,200 tickets. MAB is prepared to make the move indoors again if weather patterns repeat and, as with last year, only the first 1,000 tickets sold will guarantee a seat.

Due to the costs sustained from the 1,200 ticket refunds, MAB inherited a budget that was smaller than usual. Since Summer Breeze is MAB’s biggest event annually and their top priority, the Fall Show and Winter Comedy Show featured smaller, less expensive acts, Abbott said.

Summer Breeze will also coincide with the NATO summit, which might cause complications such as traffic jams that could result in delays. But, according to Abbott, “the show must go on.”