Rochelle Jordan headlines ViCE Spring Music Festival

Image courtesy of Tianchen Zhou '24.

On Saturday, April 15, Vassar College Entertainment (ViCE) held its annual Spring Music Festival at Main Drive. In the weeks leading up to the festival, Vassar students were buzzing in anticipation for headliner JPEGMAFIA. Unfortunately, he was not able to make it to Vassar after his flight was canceled due to poor weather conditions. 

Barrington DeVaughn Hendricks, professionally known as JPEGMAFIA, is an American rapper, singer and record producer. His music is often described as experimental hip hop, but it incorporates a wide range of music genres, such as R&B and noise rap. JPEGMAFIA has released a variety of albums and EPs. Some of the more well-known are “SCARING THE HOES” (2023), “LP!” (2021) and “Veteran” (2018). He has a loyal fanbase: In fact, two visitors came to Vassar for the explicit purpose of his performance. Anika Salem exclaimed,  “JPEGMAFIA is one of the greatest minds of our time.” Echoing her statement, Nia Chetkovich described JPEGMAFIA’s style: “It’s not typical. He creates his own genre.” 

Due to inclement weather, the show was delayed by an hour, with the concert beginning at 6 p.m. The night started out with a variety of student bands, artists and DJs playing, including Clementoon, Alouette Batteau, Team Mom and Serial Milf. The performers played both covers and original work, mostly singing rock and indie rock. Along with music, there were food trucks and carnival games set up for students to enjoy. 

Following the last-minute cancellation, Rochelle Jordan, originally the concert’s opener, became the headliner for the night. Jordan is a Canadian R&B artist who has released four albums to date, her first being “ROJO” (2011). After two more albums, Jordan released “Play With The Changes,” her most recent record. At the concert, in addition to playing fan-favorites, Jordan showcased some new music she will be releasing this summer. Jordan was accompanied by DJ Chrysalis. 

Image courtesy of Tianchen Zhou ’24.

After last year’s controversy following Vassar students’ inappropriate behavior at the Spring Music Festival with singer Indigo De Souza, there was additional pressure this year for the student body to be respectful to performers. Following JPEGMAFIA’s cancellation, ViCE wanted to ensure students would still attend and be attentive. ViCE Co-Chairs Gabi Epstein ’23 and Dora Levite ’24 said in light of the cancellation, “We found out at 2 p.m. and we had to come up with a battle plan as to how to tell everybody to make sure they would still show up and be respectful for the rest of the concert because we were concerned about that.” They also wanted to ensure that Jordan felt appreciated as the new headliner. Epstein and Levite commented on a statement from Jordan’s manager, “They were like, we play a lot of shows and this is some of the best hospitality we have ever been given.”

Although some students were disappointed by the change in events, many expressed support for Jordan’s performance: “I didn’t know what to expect because I didn’t know the artist that well,” shared Malia Weiss ’26. “But I was really impressed with her music and her stage presence. I think people were disappointed at first that JPEGMAFIA wouldn’t be performing, but everyone had a really good time and got into it.” Throughout her set, students danced, sang and cheered enthusiastically. Acadia LeQuire ’26 noted Jordan’s performance quality: “Her stage presence was incredible, along with her set.” Liam Wells ’23 also commented, “Her production was amazing.” 

Jordan was reportedly an engaging entertainer, for which students were appreciative. “I was standing in the front row, and she was interacting with the crowd, which was really fun. She gave us little heart hands, which was really cute,” said Weiss. 

Despite the unforeseen circumstances, the night was a resounding success. Sadie Keesbury ’26 [Disclaimer: Keesbury is Crossword Editor for The Miscellany News], a member of ViCE who helped set up the concert, commented, “It was generally a very happy crowd fixated on Rochelle Jordan and loving the rain.” 

Rain persisted throughout the concert, but many members of the student body embraced the weather, claiming it added to the atmosphere. Weiss said, “I was a little worried about the rain at first, but it added to the whole experience. I felt like I was in a music video.” LeQuire echoed this sentiment, saying, “The best part was the fine mist of rain all night.” 

Even though JPEGMAFIA was not able to attend the Spring Music Festival, Epstein and Levite confirmed in an interview that he will return before the end of the school year: “We can’t tell you exactly yet, but JPEG will be confirmed coming soon, before the end of the year.”  

Image courtesy of Tianchen Zhou ’24.

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