In 2016, the lines for Springfest events snaked around Chapman Commons demonstrating high turnouts for events other than the concert. Photo by Greg Diskin

SA springs to wrong idea for Springfest

SA cut Springfest to a single concert this year, excluding students who prefer the other events of past years or who don’t like the singer.

Springfest this year consists mostly of a concert. Student Association Executive Director Catherine Aaronson confirmed that the concert, featuring Smallpools and Bebe Rexha, will be the main feature of the festival, without any other events during the week. Of course, Aaronson said the festival is a bit of a “mystery,” meaning SA could randomly add things whenever they feel like it, but here’s the bottom line: Springfest is changing, and not for the better.

Hosting only a concert for this year’s Springfest is a disappointing move by SA, who claims that student feedback — some from her friends — suggested a new format was necessary.

Clearly the process of collecting student feedback was not widespread. None of my friends were asked, and all of them have not liked the change. I’ve heard from several people that the other events beside the concert are what they have primarily attended in the past. What’s more, some have said previous concerts have been disappointing. This change seems to be have been made without a lot of input, and not considering the students.

Having other events besides the concert is more considerate. A week of events gives students plenty of opportunities to attend Springfest for the year. If the concert isn’t your brand of music or it’s on the wrong day, as it’s generally on a weeknight, when people might have night classes or a test the following day, there’s generally at least one other thing you can show up to. These events have been pretty well attended in the past, causing long lines and delays. Previous attendance doesn’t suggest students dislike other Springfest events; in fact, it suggests the opposite.

Bebe Rexha might be more welcome than past artists; she has partnered with artists from a variety of genres. But at her core, she’s still a pop-electronic artist, not necessarily someone with a wide appeal. And while all my professors tell me Wikipedia is not a reliable source, its entry on her does predominantly mention she’s “best known for her collaborations with other artists.” An artist best known for her duets might not make for an interesting concert by herself.

SA’s budget for Springfest also suggests more events should be happening. This year, as with previous years, the organization planned to spend about $100,000 on Springfest. Maybe Rexha is an extremely expensive artist; she’s a little more well-known than Hoodie Allen, who came four years ago, and while I’d argue MisterWives is just as well-known as Rexha, they might’ve been a bit more hipster than her.

Of course, I’m not privileged to knowing how much they spent on Rexha, but given that previous years SA has managed to get a halfway-decent artist (especially Panic! At the Disco in 2014) and still have other events, I have to wonder what else they’re doing with the money. Is she really worth that much? Is the pre-party going to be all free stuff? If you’re only doing a concert, get someone amazing, someone worth it. Yes, other colleges only do concerts, but they generally have a little more during the day of the concert and they have an awesome, super well-known artist headlining.

Not all is bad. The pre-party with the art fair is a neat touch — something cool that local students can attend. But the vague plan behind it doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.

Honestly, this year’s Springfest is dubious, allowing them to change things when they feel like it. Hopefully they change it for the better. As a senior, I wanted a good Springfest before I leave; previous years have featured disappointing artists (except for MisterWives, but that concert was delayed way too long, which made it terrible) and knowing that this year is only a concert doesn’t inspire confidence. I understand the need to change things up; it’s good, keeps students interested as the times change. But at the same time, maybe get a little more input from the students. Offer some options. Not everyone enjoys a concert; some people might like a movie night or a inflatable race or something else more. That’s valid, and if SA wants to represent all students, they should perhaps consider that a bit more next year.

Post Author: Michaela Flonard