Social Board revealed on Friday that pop and hip-hop duo Social House will serenade students at this year’s Summer Sendoff celebration, joining the ranks of past performers including Echosmith and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Social House — known for its hit summer single “Magic in the Hamptons” — will headline the traditional April event, which will also feature an AVI-catered picnic dinner, festival fare and an opening performance from Kenyon’s 2023 Battle of the Bands winner, Paul Obie.
After weeks of social media speculation from students, Social Board commandeered the Peirce Dining Hall atrium for last Friday’s artist announcement, confirming Social House’s upcoming Gambier performance by blasting hits such as “boyfriend” with Ariana Grande and “Tropical Rain.” With a discography that features an energetic blend of pop, R&B and hip-hop, Social House has amassed two Grammy nominations and an MTV Video Music Award since its 2015 founding. The Pittsburgh duo has also gained renown for producing and co-writing singles for Ariana Grande, including “thank u, next” and “7 rings.”
According to President of Social Board Lilly Richart ’23, securing Social House as the Sendoff artist was an intensive effort largely driven by student input. The process began in January, when Social Board surveyed the student body to gauge the most desired music genres for the end-of-year event. After collecting data regarding student preferences, the Office of Student Engagement brainstormed possible headliners with Social Board and reached out to artists that aligned with student-requested genres and budgetary constraints. “We try to find artists that stay in line with the most popular suggestions from the form, and then go through some voting within the Social Board. With Social House, we really tried to find a group that reflected the majority tastes as shared from the students,” Richart wrote in an email to the Collegian.
In addition to giving feedback that determined the headlining act, students were also instrumental in choosing the opening performer: Paul Obie, a student band that won a February Battle of the Bands competition at the Horn Gallery, where students selected their favorite from over a dozen bands competing for the opening performance slot. Richart believes having a Kenyon band kick off the celebration will generate enthusiasm and give students a more personal connection to the event. “I think that having a student band as the opener will add a much different energy to Sendoff. It will be our peers on stage that we are cheering on and listening to, making it that much more exciting,” Richart wrote.
While live music is a key component of Summer Sendoff, students can also look forward to a range of other attractions throughout the evening. In addition to AVI catering the event so students can picnic on the lawns of Ascension Hall, the College is bringing in several food trucks to complement the meal. Offerings will include Kona Ice and G&G Concessions — which offers a variety of fair food, including deep-fried pickles and breaded zucchini sticks. Amid the music and festivities, Social Board also plans to give away free T-shirts featuring the winning sendoff design and to distribute glow sticks to keep enthusiasm high well after the sun sets.
In light of the excitement sparked by the artist announcement, Director of Student Engagement Caleb Young emphasized that the beloved Summer Sendoff tradition is the result of a massive community effort — and that credit for the event is owed to to a range of campus employees. Beyond Social Board and Office of Student Engagement, Young said that several Kenyon departments are working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure Sendoff’s success. “The event would not be possible without the campus support from other departments. A special shout out to the great people of AVI, Maintenance & Facilities, Grounds, Campus Safety, Sendoff volunteers and countless others to help make this campus tradition a reality for our students,” Young wrote in an email to the Collegian.