By Vicky Tam
Neither k-os nor M.I.A. had a frosh like the one they performed at on Friday. Organizers estimate Ryerson’s “50th Annual Parade and Picnic” drew as many as 4,000 students to see the concert headliners.
Though Toronto rapper k-os attended both Carleton and York universities, he never saw a concert. “I was too fucked. I drank too much so I never made it to anything,” he said.
British electro-artist M.I.A., a graduate of Central Saint Martin’s in London, said her school never had a concert for its students.
Leading up to the show Ryerson students shut down the west half of Yonge Street, eliciting honks from vehicles as they paraded south to the ferry docks. Information and Technology Management took home the prize for best float.
Once at Centre Island, the show began with a martial arts demonstration by Team Ryouko. Vancouver indie rock group You Say Party! We Say Die! and 4 Korners, the official DJs for the Toronto Raptors, performed sets in between the headliners.
Ben Flynn, a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student, appreciated the variety among the acts.
“It was interesting to have some entertainment other than music,” he said.
On stage, M.I.A. announced that her cousin attended Ryerson. “She graduated in sciences and now she’s a researcher. She said that she doesn’t really earn [anything].” It’s been less than a year since her cousin graduated, “but she did want the money back because she said it just wasn’t worth it.”
k-os had a different tune to sing about the university. He said many of the MuchMusic VJs and the video editors he knew are Ryerson graduates. “I think Ryerson is like the best university. Like I said on stage, I dated a lot of girls from Ryerson. They’re the smartest ones and they’re the most artistic ones.
Though k-os was the official headlining act, some of the audience left before his performance. “I figured that out halfway through my show. First I was kind of mad because the crowd was bigger when [M.I.A.] was there. But then I realized that these people stayed because they really wanted to see the show.”
Deciding to experiment with his set list, he played his older singles like Crabbuckit and Man I Used To Be. “I’m going to play them tomorrow [at V-Fest]. I wasn’t going to before. I’m from that indie rock thing where you hate the shit you did before.”
It was the response the songs received at the picnic that changed his mind.
“Ryerson kids are cool kids, they’re fashionable kids. They were into it but they got more into when they really knew the songs.”
While the picnic was held at the V-Fest B-Stage, it almost didn’t happen on the island at all. Though Ryerson has traditionally held the event at the island, V-Fest secured permits from the city for their Saturday and Sunday concerts.
Abe Snobar, VP of Student Life and Events had to remind the organizers of Virgin Fest of last year’s situation, where their roles were reversed and Ryerson had the permits.
V-Fest’s concert promoter, Emerge Entertainment, not only allowed Ryerson to use its stage but let them book M.I.A., one of the festival’s headlining acts.
“Companies never do that. They’re usually concerned about their own ticket sales,” Spin, the events coordinator for the Ryerson Students’ Union, said.
“Because of our budget we were trying to decide between M.I.A. and k-os. But by raising money through sponsorship and a contribution Sheldon Levy gave we were able to have both.”
The entire planning process was full of surprises right until the end.
Spin had wanted separate transportation for M.I.A. back to mainland but because of complications with the ferry schedule, she rode back with students.