Friday, May 14 will mark the return of a favorite Haverford tradition: Haverfest! In the weekend between the end of classes and the beginning of finals, Founders Green will once again be taken over with live music, food, and activities.
Last year, Haverfest was canceled due to COVID-19. Thankfully, careful planning will allow for Haverfest 2021 to return as close to normal as possible. This year’s theme, Summer Camp, was chosen in part because of its conduciveness to COVID-safe activities.
Co-heads Liv Wong ‘21 and Robbie Spratt ‘21 have big plans for this year’s festivities. They are planning to have tents all over Founders Green, classic camp activities like tie-dye and friendship bracelet making. Wong even mentioned the possibility of an overnight camp-out.
Careful efforts are being made to include off-campus and remote students, with free merchandise (including a shirt, mask, and to-go cup) being mailed to those who have requested them. Furthermore, they are planning online events and are mailing activity sets, allowing all students to get in on the festivities.
Another favorite feature of Haverfest, live music, is returning this year. Wong hinted that students should expect an exciting performance, saying of the headliner, “I believe they’re one of the biggest names we’ve gotten at Haverford ever before!” In 2019, Haverfest performances included Myles Cameron, Orion Sun, Ivy Sole, and The Pom Poms.
Since Haverford’s COVID policy restricts access to campus to members of the Bi-Co community, Haverfest will not be open to outside guests. As a result, while the organizers recently shared the identity of the headlining artist with the Bi-Co community over email and on Instagram, they have requested that students keep the information private. The rest of the line-up has yet to be released.
Beyond the activities and live performances, students can look forward to lots of free food. There will be many food trucks on campus, including some that have been on campus earlier this semester.
College policy currently requires that all students maintain six feet of distance between themselves and others and wear their masks outside their rooms. That said, as of late April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their guidelines to, among other changes, allow fully vaccinated people to meet indoors or outdoors in small groups without masks. As such, CDC guidelines would not necessitate masks for many of the small-group situations in which students find themselves during Haverfest, although they’re still recommended for crowded events such as concerts.
As of May 8, just over 70% of students and employees have reported receiving at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, though the number who are two weeks after their second shot (and therefore considered fully vaccinated) is somewhat lower.
When asked about the discrepancy between CDC guidelines and Haverford policy, Vice President and Chief of Staff Jesse Lytle emphasized the College’s preference for an abundance of caution and desire to safeguard the many important in-person events that are scheduled to occur between now and the end of the semester. “We do not want any outbreaks that could force unwanted changes to finals, to Haverfest, to Commencement, or to our ability to welcome guests,” he said.
Despite the COVID restrictions, Spratt is hopeful: “We’re aiming to have a Haverfest that is as fun, lively, and inclusive as in past years, even with COVID guidelines in place such as masking and distancing!”
Many upperclassmen reflect fondly on past Haverfests and are excited about its return. “I have only been to Haverfest once, and I truly cannot overestimate my excitement for its return,” said Riah Newfont ’22. Meanwhile, first-years and sophomores are eager to see if it will live up to the lore. Sarah Brown ’23 shared: “I have heard lots of exciting stories about Haverfest, and am looking forward to a fun break before finals!”
After a long and often divisive academic year, Spratt expressed optimism for this year’s event, saying: “I’m personally excited for everyone to get into the Camp Haverfest spirit and to spend a weekend outdoors with the Haverford Community.”