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Concerts and comedy cap week of events at Clarkson

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POTSDAM — Clarkson students blew off steam all throughout last week with free events, culminating in concerts and comedy routines Saturday.

“We’ve done a whole week of stuff; obviously today is the big one,” R. Ryan Swartz, the senior who coordinated the events, said Saturday.

Springfest is completely organized by students. The board responsible for putting together the event started running into problems when it was looking for musicians earlier this year.

Clarkson has been able to attract large national acts in the past, such as last year’s show by the All-American Rejects, but this year things were tougher.

The group partnered with students at SUNY Potsdam, trying to combine their efforts to attract big-name bands such as fun., Imagine Dragons or Mumford & Sons, but to no avail.

“We spent months trying to get a bunch of bands,” Mr. Swartz said.

When the organizers realized that they were unable to bring in the big names this year, they decided to change their tactics.

Springfest became “Knights after Dark” — a weeklong slate of smaller events instead of a single big bash.

“It’s a bigger focus on what we could do with students,” Mr. Swartz said.

Even the smaller focus ran into some obstacles. Bad weather kept a comedy troupe and a hypnotist from traveling to Potsdam to perform their scheduled shows. It also was a heavy study week for many students, as paper and project deadlines loom.

“It’s a very busy week of school,” said Adam G. Merkwan, a sophomore from New Hampshire who said he could not attend any of the events before Saturday because of his studies.

Saturday marked the week’s finale, starting with a performance by Von Shakes, an indie rock band from Dublin, Ireland.

Ryan M. Kopera, a sophomore from Buffalo, said he had not heard of Von Shakes before Saturday, but he was glad he came.

“We found out they were coming today and looked them up, and they’re pretty awesome,” Mr. Kopera said.

He said the weeklong approach to Springfest was a good idea.

“It’s pretty cool how they spread this over a whole week,” he said.

Later, stand-up comedian Louis Katz took the stage, followed by the Los Angeles musical comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates.

Between the onstage acts, students stood in line for giveaways such as custom-printed mouse pads.

They also sampled the best chicken wings Potsdam has to offer at “Wingfest,” where students could vote for which area restaurant serves up superior wings.

All of the week’s activities were free for students.

“Everyone likes free stuff, but a lot of people were disappointed that we didn’t get a huge name again,” said Sarah W. Pisaniello, a freshman from Lowville.

Springfest is the semester’s last big event. Students soon will be back to their studies, looking forward to summer as finals approach.

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