This Spring, We Are Program Bored

While the recent email sent out by Program Board about the Spring Concert came as a disappointment to many students, it was met with more resignation than indignation. There was almost a sense of inevitability to it; it is not harsh to say that the College has not organized a successful Spring Concert for years. Spring Concert is supposed to be a time of campus unity and satisfaction arising from a rewarding experience and a great band the entire school can enjoy.
Last year we had Mike Posner. This year, we’re probably going to host nobody.

There are several reasons to hold Program Board accountable. First, one of the main reasons most of the artist picks did not work out was because the Concert was scheduled during Coachella, which created schedule conflicts for the artists. This was an irresponsible timing decision that could have been easily worked around. Secondly, we’ve had difficulty getting the artist of the College’s choice to perform several times in the past. Program Board, instead of acknowledging this chronic problem and addressing it, went for a simple vote-and-hope approach and raised expectations, knowing the slim possibility of bringing any of the listed artists. As a committee that the College entrusted with a large sum of money, and equally large responsibility, they have the duty to look ahead, anticipate problems that have been known to occur in the past and look for innovative ways to work around them.

However, while Program Board could have done a better job in seeking innovative solutions, we must acknowledge that the problems with Spring Concert are systemic and logistical. Right now, our focus as a community should be understanding the reasons why Spring Concert doesn’t work out: our small size, limited budget and inability to hold outdoor concerts late at night make us an unattractive venue for many of our desired artists. None of these factors can change anytime soon. We need to tackle these systemic problems head on and radically change the structure of Spring Concert. We need to put our heads together and seek out a way to use the budgeted money to put up an event that the entire campus can enjoy. Perhaps we should co-host a concert with some of the other Five Colleges. Or, as the Senate column suggested, combine Spring Concert and Spring Carnival. Perhaps the event should be scrapped altogether, and we should subsidize tickets to a bigger event, or return the money back to the College. In any case, what we should take from this year’s predicament is not that we should try harder next time and hit or miss with a less popular artist, but redefine Spring Concert to make it a better experience for all.