AAS To Consider Defunding Spring Concert in Future

After discontent with this year’s spring concert and low turnout at previous concerts, AAS senators are wondering if spring concert funds can be put to better use elsewhere.

AAS To Consider Defunding Spring Concert in Future
Earlier this year, members of CAB identified CupcakKe as the most popular artist on a list of performers within the college’s budget of around $90,000. Photo courtesy of CupcakKe. 

The decision to select CupcakKe for this year’s spring concert and low turnout at previous concerts has ignited calls for the concert’s funds to be diverted to other uses and raised questions about the selection process for headliners.

CupcakKe is a rapper known for her comedic and often explicitly sexual lyrics on viral hits like “Deepthroat” and “Squidward Nose.”

Earlier this year, members of the Campus Activities Board (CAB), the student committee that advises the college on the concert, identified CupcakKe as the most popular artist on a list of performers within the college’s budget of around $90,000.

“I think people know her, but I don’t know how they feel about her,” Knox said he told the CAB’s advisor.

However, before the e-board could discuss their recommendations for the headliner, the CAB’s previous advisor went ahead and issued CupcakKe a contract. Now, some are calling for the discontinuation of the concert.

Henry Pallesen ’25, a member of the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) Senate, said he supports defunding the concert in future years.

Last year’s spring concert headliner was Saucy Santana. From Pallesen’s estimation, there were about 200 people in attendance. Despite going to the concert, Pallesen felt the price outweighed the benefits.

“I had fun; I did not have $90,000 worth of fun,” Pallesen said.

Defunding efforts have increased, in part, he said, because the Senate is in a budget crisis, and “there’s been an increased emphasis on looking at how we can better allocate funds and increase student happiness the most.”

The annual budget for clubs is $200,000, Pallesen added. “Even a section of that money could go a long way in helping solve some of the budgetary issues that a lot of clubs have been frustrated with,” Pallesen said.

Pallesen does not believe that the Senate should make a unilateral decision on whether to defund the concert.

“I feel like we do need to hear input from the student body, whether it be a poll or a referendum, because this is their student activities fee and we’re elected to manage it,” Pallesen said.

Meanwhile, the CAB e-board has been fighting for more autonomy in choosing performers. While the headliner was determined by the CAB’s former advisor, “the opener was a collaborative decision that the e-board made,” President of the CAB, Angelina Suarez ’25, said.

This year, the CAB released a survey to the student body to choose three different genres they were interested in seeing at the concert, as well as asking for artist recommendations.

The top three genres from the survey were pop, rap, and R&B, “so we decided to make sure that we covered those three genres,” Knox said.

The e-board, Suarez said, has historically not had much input in the decision-making process.

“In previous years, for the past two spring concerts, we really didn’t have any say,” she added. “We also didn’t know who the artists were until they were officially announced to the entire campus.”

If the CAB e-board had more agency, Suarez believes that the headliner would be “more of a reflection of what students might want to hear.”

In response to the defunding conversations, Knox said that he is always encouraging students to join as general members and to attend the CAB’s weekly meetings to give their input. “I would love to have conversations about how the CAB can better facilitate the things in which students want,” he said.