On May 14, 1967, Ray Charles and his Raelets came to RIT for Spring Weekend. He and Jackie Vernon, an acclaimed comedian, were the big Sunday entertainment. Jackie Vernon had been on famous TV shows and the best nightclubs across the nation. Ray Charles was the famous artist behind well-known hits such as “Hit the Road Jack,” “I Got a Woman” and “Georgia on my Mind.” He became a superstar during the 1950s, and was acclaimed as a deeply personal artist in his generation. Charles was named the Father of Soul, and as the name suggests, he created the music genre of soul. To see both acts, tickets cost students $12 — that’s an amazing price compared to what we pay to see famous artists today!
Over time Spring Weekend became SpringFest, a huge weeklong celebration with free events, food and fun for RIT students, faculty and staff. The RIT College Activities Board and dozens of clubs around campus plan and coordinate all of these events, the biggest and most popular event being the annual SpringFest concert. The 2016 SpringFest performance is Walk the Moon on April 30. The band formed in 2008 and released their debut album in 2010. Their performance at RIT is part of their TALKING IS HARD Tour; this album had their first Top Ten and international hit in 2014 with “Shut Up and Dance.”