Rites of Spring Music Festival 2010 To Feature Drake, Ben Harper, Phoenix and Passion Pit

While most are trying to keep warm during one of the coldest winters the Southeast has seen in years, The Music Group at Vanderbilt University is already gearing up for the warm days of spring and the annual pilgrimage music lovers make to its Rites of Spring Music Festival. Taking place on Friday, April 23 and Saturday, April 24, 2010, the Rites of Spring Music Festival is the perfect kick-off to the spring season and the best place to see some of the hottest talents in music, including Drake, BEN HARPER and Relentless7, Phoenix, and Passion Pit.

Canadian hip-hop star Drake has quickly risen up the charts since his first mixtape release in 2006, ironically titled, Room for Improvement. His third and highly acclaimed 2009 mixtape So Far Gone was named "The Hottest Mixtape of 2009" by MTV. His single from that mixtape, "Best I Ever Had" landed at #1 on Billboard Rap Chart and #2 on Billboard Hot 100 in July 2009, making Drake only the second artist (after Nelly Furtado) to have his/her first two top ten hits in the same week. Drake's quick rise to fame has led to collaborations with artists such as Jay-Z, Timbaland, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West and a show-stopping performance with Lil Wayne and Eminem at the 2010 Grammy Awards. His debut album, Thank Me Later will be released this spring.

Grammy award-winner Ben Harper is currently playing some of the most exciting music of his career with BEN HARPER and Relentless7. A straight up American rock group, Relentless7 has become an exhilarating staple among major music festivals. After lead guitarist Jason Mozersky played a demo for him in the late '90s, Harper invited Mozersky and friends (future Relentless7 members) to play on his 2006 album Both Sides of the Gun. Released in May 2009, their first album, White Lies for Dark Times, is a timeless rock record: raw, unrelenting, haunting, thunderous and emotional.

The rock-synth sound of French alternative rock band Phoenix reflects both an eclectic '80s upbringing and the same culture that produced late '90s bands like Daft Punk. Originally based out of vocalist Thomas Mars' garage, Phoenix got their touring start performing Hank Williams and Prince covers at French bars. Paris-based Source Records signed the group and produced their debut album United in 2000. Nine years and four albums later, the group's 2009 global smash album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix won them a 2010 Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.

Ever-evolving, indie pop, electronica band Passion Pit formed in late 2007 when frontman Michael Angelakos sat down to write a few songs for his girlfriend for Valentine's Day. After toying with the plug-ins and the infinite possibilities of a computer program, Angelakos added in pitch-perfect hooks and catchy choruses to help create Passion Pit's debut EP, Chunk of Change. Flash forward to 2008, and the band released its first full-length studio album, Manners. The album's single "The Reeling" peaked at #29 in fall 2009 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.

"The concerts that The Music Group organizes are on par with other major festivals in Nashville and nationwide," says Dwayne V. Elliott, director of student campus events at Vanderbilt University. "I'm incredibly proud of the caliber and diversity of the acts that our students bring to campus for their peers and the community." The Jay-Z concert organized by The Music Group this past fall was recently chosen as 'Best Concert' in Metromix's 'Best of Nashville 2009 Awards' and last year's Rites of Spring broke attendance records. Elliott continues, "These accolades are a real testament to the hard work of the Vanderbilt student programming board."

The Music Group will offer up an amazing line-up of well-established and highly praised acts, music festival favorites, promising musicians from the underground music scene and everyone in between. Additional confirmed talent includes: Cold War Kids, Doug E Fresh, Melanie Fiona, JJ Grey & Mofro, The New Mastersounds, Salvador Santana, Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue and Two Door Cinema Club with more to be announced soon.

Tickets are available to the general public and will go on sale Monday, February 22nd at 10 am CST at all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 615-255-9600. Tickets can also be purchased with Cash or Check with no service fees included only at the Sarratt Box Office on the Vanderbilt campus. For general event information, call 615-322-2471. For more information, visit www.ritesofspring.com or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ritesatvandy.

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