The Stanford Concert Network (SCN) has moved its annual Frost Music and Arts Festival to Stanford Stadium while Frost Amphitheater undergoes renovations funded by Peter Bing ’55.
SCN executive leaders Robert Webber ’19, Tommy Choi ’18 and Rosalind Lutsky ’18 learned of the venue’s unavailability two weeks before the start of the school year.
According to Choi, the timing forced SCN to make a difficult decision.
“We had to decide to either hold Frost and have to change it in ways we didn’t know yet or to ultimately cancel the show,” Choi said.
Faced with these choices, SCN opted to begin planning a revamped Frost, deciding as a group that the event’s importance to the Stanford community made it worth extra logistical efforts. Choi explained that SCN sees Frost as “very much central to what life on campus is.” He noted that it is the most attended student event of the year and one of the few chances for the whole student body to spend time together outside.
“We want to make sure that all of the incoming freshmen have this same experience,” Choi said.
SCN’s main criteria for a new venue for Frost were capacity, safety and novelty. The group wanted a location that could excite students. According to Choi, Stanford Stadium was the only viable option that satisfied each criterion. This year’s Frost festival will take place there on May 20.
The move to Stanford Stadium, finalized in early December, has given SCN a number of new variables to consider in planning Frost.
“The amount of contingency we have to build into our budget has to be a lot larger just because we have a lot more unknowns,” Choi said.
Lutsky explained that protecting the stadium grass is a particular concern for the organization. Damaging the field would pit SCN against Stanford Athletics and affect this June’s commencement walk on the field.
SCN will also need to cover the cost of transporting stages and equipment into the stadium. In previous years, the group simply used an existing concrete stage at Frost Amphitheater.
“We had to make some uneasy sacrifices about continuing all of our shows throughout the year in order to have Frost,” Webber said.
SCN also decided to cut back on the frequency of other large-scale shows throughout the year, most notably by canceling its Fallout concert. The group has focused on co-sponsoring events such as Black Love, Dance Marathon and Snowchella with other organizations.
To maintain the energy and parts of the ambience of past Frost festivals, SCN plans to recreate the bowl-shaped amphitheater with the stadium’s seating arrangement. Students will have a combination of field and stadium seating at their disposal.
“Although we’ve talked about a lot of the challenges this move has brought us, we are exponentially more excited about the new opportunities that it brings,” Webber said.
SCN also hopes to use the existing infrastructure of the stadium to integrate the festival’s art displays. Art will be interspersed throughout the venue, allowing attendees to interact more with the works during Frost. The stadium’s lighting and ability to contain sound have also made it possible to host the show later in the evening.
SCN views Frost’s revamping in a positive light because of the excitement the change can bring to students as well as the challenges it has brought to SCN.
“The venue change has forced us as an organization to grow in a way that we previously hadn’t,” Choi said. “We have had to come together much more as a team because we have to deal with things that we had never even heard of in the past.”
“We want to emphasize how fun this is going to be for the student body,” Webber said. “We’re really excited to give them a show that they can come out to as a group. It’s one of the rare opportunities that the community comes together.”
Contact Caroline Kimmel at ckimmel ‘at’ stanford.edu.