Ithaca College students will compete in a Battle of the Bands April 4 to determine the student band that will open for the Wailers, a popular reggae group, at IC Kicks Back, the college’s end-of-the-year celebration for students, to be held May 4 in the Fitness Center Quad.
The Wailers, who will be brought to campus by the Ithaca College Bureau of Concerts, are internationally known for their work with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and other reggae musicians.
The concert at IC Kicks Back on May 4 will be the first profesional band brought to campus by the Bureau of Concerts this year.
Claudia Pietrzak, co-director of the Bureau of Concerts, said the group wanted to give students the opportunity to open for a nationally renowned act.
“We understand that there are a lot of really talented student musicians here at IC,” she said. “We have this event as a good way for the bands to get more exposure.”
The Wailers concert is the second that the group has arranged this semester. The first was canceled after indie band Phantogram backed out of their scheduled show.
Luke Matheson, co-director of the bureau, said the group of 11 students meets every Thursday to discuss possible acts. These weekly negotiations are normally made with Dan Smalls, a local concert promoter who works with IC, Cornell University, The State Theatre and other venues.
“We discuss possibilities as a group,” Matheson said. “The choice really comes down to what money we have available and based on who’s available at the time. We cross-reference that and pick hopefully the person who will bring the most attention.”
The Wailers have performed in Ithaca previously, most recently at the State Theatre in 2005. Smalls said Ithaca “has always been a very big reggae town.”
Smalls said IC Kicks Back tends to center more on the party itself than who ends up playing at the event, which helped lead to choosing the Wailers.
“They’re a perfect, really fun band that has that ‘we’re playing outside on a nice spring day’ vibe,” Smalls said. “Getting to know what the event is like over these past few years, it’s not so much about the rock concert. It’s about just a good day to hang outside with your friends.”