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April 12, 2024

This piece represents the opinion of the Bowdoin Orient Editorial Board.

The history of the Spring Concert has been brief, tumultuous and largely unsatisfactory for many Bowdoin students.

Ever since the fall of 2021 when Bowdoin’s entire student body returned to campus following the Covid-19 pandemic, each year’s Spring Concert has been surrounded by its own challenges, controversies and general disruptions.

In the spring of 2022, the College announced that the Ivies concert would be separate from the rest of Ivies festivities—citing low attendance numbers—and moved to a different weekend, officially creating the Spring Concert.

Last spring, the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) took over the organizing of the Spring Concert after the Entertainment Board (E-Board) failed to submit an operating budget to the Student Activities Funding Committee. Following the concert, there were reports of low attendance for the event’s headlining performer Soccer Mommy, as many students left after the opening student bands.

This year, controversy has surrounded the decision to bring singer Sean Kingston to campus, who has a history of rape and assault allegations.

Additionally, communication for this year’s Battle of the Bands was unclear at best and contradictory at worst. While there has been a precedent for the top two finishers in the Battle of the Bands to open for the guest musician, runner-up and well-established Bowdoin band Far From Juno will not be opening for the Spring Concert. This decision was made after the original, conflicting announcement at the Battle of the Bands.

Clearly, something isn’t working. And Bowdoin students know it.

Recent Bowdoin Orient Student Surveys show that students are consistently disappointed with the E-Board—the committee directly responsible for planning the Spring Concert. In May 2023 and last December, the E-Board had the highest combined disapproval rating of all surveyed organizations.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. As mentioned above, the E-Board failed to plan last year’s spring concert in a timely manner. This rating reflects a lack of communication and transparency between the E-Board and the rest of campus.

Unlike BSG officers, the E-Board has no elected members. Having the following year’s members decided by the current leaders removes a key source of student body input. Even though the E-Board sends out a yearly student survey, the results are not made public, and the lack of an election process disincentivizes the E-Board from listening to suggestions.

It’s perfectly reasonable to expect the Spring Concert to be a highlight of the semester. The six-figure budget to pay artists and contract fees, hire booking agents and rent stage equipment only adds to our expectations.

Should all this money be allocated to just one event?

Before Covid, the E-Board previously used its annual budget to fund multiple events throughout the year, bringing in a variety of guests including comedians and musicians. The precedent has not been kept up after the pandemic, with a number of student groups stepping up to fill this vacuum.

There are ways to host successful concerts on campus. While the E-Board has struggled to have a consistent track record with student events, WBOR has consistently knocked it out of the park, bringing less expensive, but highly attended shows to campus. Artists such as Melt, Vundabar and Weakened Friends had unforgettable performances that students often reminisce about.

It’s possible to bring engaging, lively and exciting concerts back to Bowdoin. The organizations responsible should provide more clarity and transparency to the student body about how concerts are planned and how artists are selected. It’s clear what students want. Let’s give it to them.

This editorial represents the view of the Editorial Board, which is comprised of Miles Berry, Abdullah Hashimi, Kristen Kinzler, Peyton Semjen, Sam Pausman and Juliana Vandermark.


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