Tori Amos, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Live, Blues Traveler, They Might be Giants, Cypress Hill, Bloodhound Gang – all these musical acts have played at GW in recent years. But no big artists will visit GW this spring.
The Program Board has nixed the idea, citing scheduling, funding difficulties and a shift to funding more student programming instead of big concerts. The decision to host only one concert, which will feature only student bands, at Spring Fling ignores the wishes of students who fund PB initiatives and abandons the reason PB exists in the first place.
Along with the Student Association, PB is funded through an allocation from a student fee charged to all students. The two groups receive about equal funding, although in the past there has been some controversy over how it is spent. The SA wanted more money to go to student groups it funds, and PB wanted enough reserves to put on large events.
Now, despite a desire to stage events that would bring nationally recognized performers to GW, it appears that no big concert will occur this year. Students raved about having the Bloodhound Gang play at Spring Fling last year, and Cypress Hill attracted a large crowd at Fall Fest. The Live concert in the Smith Center in 1999 sold out, and acts from previous years enjoyed similar success. Concerts by popular bands bring the campus together and answer any questions why students pay more than $1,000 a year to fund the SA and PB.
Only once in recent history was PB unsuccessful with a big-name band. A Blues Traveler debacle in the fall of 1998 claimed about $45,000 in losses. But even with that risk, students want the University and PB to bring such groups to campus.
PB needs a better excuse than blaming scheduling difficulties with the Smith Center for failing in its most important function. While some difficulties may exist, it is hard to believe that there is not one night open between January and May that works for any of a handful of popular bands students would enjoy. If the athletic department is being overly restrictive regarding Smith Center use, it should accommodate students’ wishes and help PB stage a concert. Similarly, if PB is not pushing hard enough or has given up, the group should make more of an effort to spend students’ money as students want it spent.
Not having a concert in the spring is a shameful misuse of the money and facilities students have entrusted to their peers and administrators. PB and the University must make every effort to avoid a bland semester without the excitement of a big-name concert.