2019 Frolics Review: Respite from School, not Sun

Frolics-goers enjoy inflatables on Patterson Court Lawn
Photo by John Crawford ‘20
Taylor Bennett performs.  Photo by Olivia Forrester ‘22

As surely as late-April graces campus with warm temperatures, abundant sunshine, and full foliage do students — drunk off a cathartic release of pent-up stress and anxiety — descend on Patterson Court to partake in the annual Spring Frolics ritual.

“There’s something about springtime and Old Town Road that just brings people together, you know? It’s so awesome,” James Shakow ‘22 exclaimed. Elliot Lannon ‘20 looking back on the weekend, said, “It was all a haze, ya know. I think the sun really got to me.”

For some, the frolicking began before ‘Frolics proper’ even started. The informal ‘Frolics week,’ truncated this year due to a late Easter, featured events such as the Q&A-hosted Pride Party, Brickhouse Thursday’s, the a cappella concert at Fiji, and gatherings around the competing songs emanating from Armfield Apartment’s speakers. On both Wednesday and Thursday, various students informed The Davidsonian that “Frolics starts tonight.” 

Frolics’ unusually close proximity to Easter and Passover set up a more-evident-than-normal juxtaposition between forms of springtime celebration. Frolics, far from these holy holidays, is a pagan ritual á la Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, except raunchier and less choreographed. Many frolickers interviewed were ignorant of that fact that Frolics falls nearabout a cosmically privileged date: the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice in Earth’s northern hemisphere. Anna Dolder ‘20 remarked, “Oh! I’ve never thought about that.” 

On Friday night, Union Board kicked off nighttime festivities with a three-act concert featuring DJ Earworm, Cautious Clay, and Taylor Bennett (Chance the Rapper’s younger brother). Some criticized the choice of the Duke Family Performance Hall for the venue, which they say likely decreased turnout. The rainy forecast prompted the move inside from Stowe parking lot, the original location. “It was still pretty hype, though!” declared Meghan Matheny ‘20, who also commented: “DJ Earworm sounds like an infection.” 

Students enjoyed the Catfish Disco concert outside of Kappa Sigma, and artists DJ Earworm, Cautious Clay, and Taylor Bennet performed in Duke Family Performance Hall.. Photos (left, middle) by John Crawford ‘20, (right) by Olivia Forrester ‘22.  

The festival is perhaps best characterized by its contrasts. PCC’s normally subdued brick buildings become overwhelmed by inflatable fixtures, improvised picnics, barbecues, and corn hole games. 

Like the lawn festivities, court parties also provide space for otherwise unlikely social interaction. “You see people you never see. Like I went into Connor [House] last night, and I was like, wow these people go here?” said Taylor Drake ‘21.

Some first years were underwhelmed. Luis Cordero ‘22, for example, commented: “I was expecting Frolics to be similar to a music festival like Lollapalooza, but it wasn’t.” He added, “even though they gave out free stuff I guess I wanted more free stuff, like more stations, etc.”

Prudent frolickers acted to protect themselves from the beating spring sun. Many, therefore, sported sunglasses, some of which were notably unconventional in shape, shade, and/or style. Lots also applied sunscreen, albeit with varying quality of coverage. 

Frolics is widely regarded as the year’s biggest ‘see and be seen’ event. Frolickers, therefore, dressed accordingly. The Davdisonian’s Frolics correspondent found that off-brand Coachella looks and sports jerseys, both perennial style choices, were again popular. 

A highlight of the weekend was the Yard Show, a group dance competition put on by NPHC and Multicultural Greek organizations. Luis Toledo ‘20 chracterized the event as “an opportunity to show our campus what [these] organizations have to offer.” 

He also commented: “What’s really significant about these performances is seeing how the members of one organization act as one body. That takes a lot of communication and really knowing and being comfortable with each other. I think every single performance was wonderful in its own way.”

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. were crowned winners. 

Another significant event was the reunion of Catfish Disco, Davidson’s former premier student cover band, which gave a concert on the porch of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity house on Saturday. 

According to Davidson Campus Chief of Police Todd Sigler, this iteration of Frolics was “extremely successful” safety-wise. He stated that “there were zero transports and zero calls for Medic assistance. This compares very favorably to recent previous years.” There were 4 ambulance calls during last year’s frolics. The year before there were 7 calls, and in 2016 there were 5. He praised frolickers, saying, “I am very thankful that an overwhelming percentage of students heeded all of the health advisories and actively watched out for one another. I am very, very appreciative and proud of the Davidson students.”

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