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Dillo Day Rebrand: What if Northwestern athletes were the performers?

Sticks and Tricks and The Backcourt Boys would be some of the more memorable Dillo Day headliners.

@NULax on Twitter.

For alumni, non-students, anyone on campus living under a rock or everybody else who isn’t up to date on Northwestern happenings, Dillo Day is on Saturday. Star rapper and former Migos member Offset is the headliner in an otherwise ambiguously received lineup. So far, the three other performers announced — aside from a few student artists — are J. Worra, TiaCorine and RINI.

It’s purely a matter of taste when it comes to your interpretation of the Dillo Day lineup. Rap and EDM aren’t your thing? It seems like it’ll be a long day. So, for all those fretting over which musicians’ songs they’ll know the lyrics to, give yourself a rest. For those who love the current quartet of artists, give yourself a treat.

Today, I’ll create a new Dillo Day set, one that’s less controversial and one that doesn’t mandate knowing the lines of decently popular songs released five years ago. Instead, I’m offering a lineup of Northwestern athletes — a headliner, an opener, the works. Who am I kidding? If you’re reading this, I’m positive this would infuse even more controversy into your life. And I suppose now you’ll just have to memorize stat lines instead of lyrics.

Alas, maybe this isn’t such a simple task… But take a look and maybe this will satiate whatever leftover appetite you have after seeing the more music-based Dillo lineup.

Daytime Opener: En Garde — Megumi Oishi (Fencing)

Like the student bands that will be opening the festival early Saturday afternoon, Oishi is still introducing herself to the Northwestern community. That isn’t to say the sabre wouldn’t draw a big crowd; the Portland native is well decorated. She’s a 12-time national medalist and earned the USFCA Women’s Sabre Newcomer of the Year award for her critically-acclaimed debut season.

Oishi’s set design would no doubt include a metallic undertone and probably tap into a more edgy vibe — props like knives, daggers and, of course, swords. I don’t think many would be surprised if she ends up headlining the festival one day, seeing as though she’s already a nominee for breakout performer of the year thanks to her top-10 finish at NCAA Championships.

Daytime First Act: Old Racket — Steve Forman, Ivan Yatsuk, Simen Bratholm, Trice Pickens (Men’s Tennis)

In this Dillo dream world, I’m booking the acts, and my bias for the tennis team would inevitably take control. Listen, call this their swan song, their farewell tour. The top four members of the tennis team are all grad students, and all of them will be leaving Evanston for good in just under three weeks.

Forman would be the lead singer, obviously. His impressive track record includes wins against multiple ITA top-50 opponents and a top-100 ranking for himself. Put Yatsuk and Bratholm on guitar; racket strings and guitar strings aren’t that different right? Move Pickens to the drums and you’ve got yourself a more athletic version of The Beatles.

The group would garner plenty of fanfare after recently leading the tennis team to its best regular season record in eight years and almost earning a near-upset victory against No. 4 Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Hot off some good PR, their booking fee might be high, but it’d be worth it.

Daytime Headliner: Sticks and Tricks — Izzy Scane and Erin Coykendall (Lacrosse)

Perhaps the hottest commodity in the industry right now, Sticks and Tricks would be the equivalent of Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez teaming up for a one-night performance. Sure, they’d have to play coming off an NCAA Quarterfinals game two nights prior, but the pair is no stranger to pressure.

Scane and Coykendall have put up monster numbers on the field all year, shattering numerous records — many of which were previously held by themselves. Both members of the duo earned nominations for the Tewaaraton Award, which is given to the top female lacrosse player in college every year.

Talk about a way to build anticipation and sell festival wristbands… Scane and Coykendall have the speed and star power to shutdown a square block. You could expect the stage to be decked in netting and the artists to be dressed head-to-toe in white.

Nighttime Opener: bente — Bente Baekers (Field Hockey)

Moving into the evening, what better way to get things started than with the one-name, veteran performer. Baekers, now in her fifth year at Northwestern, would have definitely performed in the daytime lineup during her rise to fame.

The Netherlands native is fresh off of three consecutive All-American First Team selections. Baekers would need no bandmate; she has all the talent in the world to get a crowd revving for the nighttime set. She set a career high in points and goals this past fall, tallying eight and four, respectively, against Maine.

Her setlist would have to include her most classic songs, including “Slapstick” and “GOAT Things.”

Nighttime First Act: Pitcher Perfect — Danielle Williams (Softball)

Another solo act, but just as deserved as her predecessor. Williams is a Northwestern staple and would have such appeal that there’d inevitably be a few pauses in her set to stop the stampede of fans swarming her stage.

Fresh off the equivalent of a hit album (which could be titled, “Tourney Talk, 2022 Deluxe Edition”), Williams’ 2023 campaign has been nothing short of impressive. Though her management team seemed to finally find her some background vocalists this year, the grad student still put plenty of weight on her shoulders, pitching 131.1 innings. Allowing just 0.71 hits per frame and boasting an ERA just above two, Williams is one of the biggest names in the game right now.

I’d expect her venue to fill up well before showtime, and it’s safe to say that her set would be an homage to an illustrious career as Northwestern’s premier pitcher.

Nighttime Headliner: The Backcourt Boys — Boo Buie, Ryan Langborg, special guests (Men’s Basketball)

Perhaps they didn’t sweep award season as they might have hoped, but The Backcourt Boys’ meteoric rise would earn them the headlining spot. Buie’s solo act in years past was well received but not quite good enough to garner the main stage. Allure for the pair only grew when fans thought Buie might not return for another year and were instead surprised to find out that — not only would the star be returning — but he’d be doing it with a partner. Talk about building hype.

Buie’s statline this past season, which was good enough for him to be named a Bob Cousy finalist and an All-Big Ten First Team player, is scintillating to his older, more loyal audience. But the addition of Langborg, a three-point shooting stud who broke onto the scene with Princeton in March Madness, is just the complement Buie needed to rein in younger fans and attain headliner status.

Many might speculate that the duo would bring out some guest performers — the backcourt boys of past and present, if you will.