Bernie Sanders knows how to draw a crowd. Less than a week before Tuesday’s crucial New York primary, the Vermont Sen. packed Manhattan’s Washington Square Park on Wednesday night for a massive rally in support of his presidential bid that featured a headlining slot from Vampire Weekend.
Performing as a trio for the first time since the departure of Rostam Batmanglij, the band ripped through a four-song set that included beloved hits like “A-Punk,” “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” and “Unbelievers,” at the event, which also featured appearances from Spike Lee, Shailene Woodley, Tim Robbins, Rosario Dawson, Linda Sarsour and Graham Nash.
VW were joined by Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth, as well as the Columbia University a cappella group Metrotones, according to Stereogum, with Weekend singer Ezra Koenig joking, “I know we’re down in NYU territory, but if there’s one place to put aside the bourgeois rivalries of public universities, it’s at a Bernie Sanders Rally.”
The Sanders campaign estimated the crowd at around 27,000, making it one of the biggest audiences for any candidate in this election season. Variety described the campaign stop as having the feel of a rock show, “with enthusiastic attendees, many of them NYU students given the park’s proximity to key school building[s], packed shoulder to shoulder on the streets before crowds were let into the park.”
The love will continue this Sunday in the run-up to Tuesday’s all-important New York primary, with a free concert in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park that will feature a performance from Grizzly Bear. On Monday, TV On the Radio are slated to play a gig at Long Island City’s Hunter’s Point South Park, where Danny Glover and Fisher Stevens are also slated to show up.