There are just four days to Spring Fling (if you don’t have Friday classes or aren’t particularly planning on going, take a day off that count).
Four days to fried Oreos, “socially acceptable” day drinking and, of course, that concert in Franklin Field.
Next weekend, we should focus on Fling 2013. But after that, the Social Planning and Events Committee should start thinking about the changes they need to make when preparing for Fling 2014.
You might have heard: some students aren’t thrilled about the artist lineup.
To be fair, the Concerts committee of SPEC, which picks and sets up the contracts with the artists, has a thankless job, and no matter who it picks, someone is going to complain. But to say “you can’t please everyone” vastly understates the student body’s response to this year’s lineup.
There have been numerous student complaints concerning Tyga’s and Girl Talk’s misogynistic lyrics. According to an online poll by The Daily Pennsylvanian, many students hadn’t heard of Girl Talk until the artist was announced last week. Sites like girltalksucks.com have been created specifically in response to the Fling lineup. And then there are students who say that they’ll now just get drunk to cope with the underwhelming artist choices (we’re still dubious that’s the only reason they’re getting drunk at Fling).
This year, more than most, it seems that students displeased with the Fling lineup are a sizeable majority.
In future years, we think SPEC should do two things: 1) be more transparent about how they pick artists for Fling and 2) involve the student body in the selection process to some extent.
SPEC has been eerily quiet since Girl Talk was announced as the third artist. Obviously, SPEC shouldn’t have to respond to every complaint any student has, but SPEC should be engaging the student body. We recognize that it has met with a group of students who have complained that Tyga’s and Girl Talk’s music is sexist, but this still leaves many undergraduates in the dark. SPEC should address the entire student body in some respect. We’re not looking for a forum in which any student can express their frustration, but at least something like a schoolwide email would be nice.
Additionally, we would like to know how people are selected to be on the concert committee. It appears that there is not a great amount of turnover from year-to-year. This is not inherently a problem, but this year and last, it seems as if more niche artists have been chosen. While that has definitely pleased certain students, it’s not the optimal way to pick who will appeal to the majority of roughly 10,000 undergraduates. Whoever is on the committee should have music tastes that reflect the music tastes of a large portion of the undergraduate population.
Even better than transparency is involving the student body. Clearly, it would be a veritable nightmare to try to have 10,000 students vote on whom to invite to Fling. It also may be infeasible to have direct student elections to determine who sits on the concert committee. However, we think it is possible to allow students to vote at least on what genres they would like to hear at Fling or to let students vote on a short list of artists the concert committee picked out.
Some might think changes are unnecessary. Perhaps Penn students are just acting a little entitled right now. That has some merit, but then again, undergraduates might not have an unreasonable stance: Spring Fling is a weekend for the entire student body, and in general, the student body should be excited about who is performing.
We think these suggested measures would help SPEC and concertgoers alike. The committee would have some direction and would likely face less criticism if it worked with students instead of just on behalf of them. The rest of the undergraduate population, we hope, would be more pleased with eventual lineup.
There’s no perfect system, but if we try to get away from a behind-the-scenes committee, more people might be truly excited for the concert. What we especially don’t want to see during Fling is buses headed to Villanova because students are more enthusiastic about its concert.Comments powered by Disqus
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