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Unexpected number of guests at Spring Concert sparks the return of guest registration

April 19, 2024

Lucas Dufalla
SPRING CONCERT: Singer Sean Kingston, who performed at the Spring Concert last Friday, stands on stage in a packed Morrell Gymnasium. More non-Bowdoin students than expected by Student Activities attended, leading the office to consider reintroducing guest registration to big campus concerts.

In response to excess attendance by non-Bowdoin students at the Spring Concert last Friday, the Office of Student Activities is planning to reintroduce guest registration ahead of big concerts on campus.

The Spring Concert was only open to Bowdoin students and their guests. However, many students from Bates and Colby Colleges, as well as high school students, showed up uninvited and tagged along with Bowdoin students as they entered Morrell Gymnasium. Some Bowdoin students also invited more guests than Student Activities had been expecting.

“We were operating under best intentions where we accepted one or two guests, and people were showing up with ten to 15 guests, and that was unexpected and a little bit disheartening,” Director of Student Activities Nate Hintze said.

Jigger Parayaoan ’26, a student worker for the Office of Admissions, noted that he received a call in the Admissions office asking if the concert was open to non-Bowdoin students. He confirmed that it was not but did not know with whom he was speaking.

The Student Activities Instagram account also received communication from an office of student employment at Colby or Bates about who could attend the concert. Student Activities confirmed that it was only open to Bowdoin students and had never reached out to either school about the event happening.

After poorly attended Entertainment Board (E-Board) concerts in recent years, this year’s Spring Concert was the first E-Board concert since the pandemic ended that garnered a large audience. Given this influx of non-Bowdoin students, Student Activities will now require all guests to be registered by Bowdoin students ahead of concerts.

“There’s more accountability for our students,” Hintze said. “If we have them register, then you only get those guests who really should be there.”

Registering guests for concerts is not new to Bowdoin, however. About ten years ago, the College started asking students to register guests for the Ivies concert because of the number of non-Bowdoin students the annual event began to attract. This continued up until the start of the pandemic.

With the concert’s large attendance, students expressed concerns about crowd safety.

“If I wanted to get out [of the crowd] I needed to fight my way out,” Parayaoan said. “I definitely would have enjoyed the performances more if the crowd wasn’t so … like the ocean, like [being] stuck in the middle of the ocean … like there’s nothing to do but go with the flow of however it’s pushing.”

Student Activities expressed that they did offer opportunities for students toward the front to exit the crowd and move to a more open space in the room. According to Hintze, no students took staffers at the concert up on this offer.

Additionally, Hintze noted that staff at the concert can only do so much to help students in the middle of the crowd, as they are not expected to wade into the crowds. Hintze said that a lot of the misbehavior that happened in the middle of the crowd was on students.

“There should be some moments when students actually talk to each other and be like, ‘Hey, you’re not being safe.’ And I think for the most part, our students are really conscientious of each other’s safety and just need to be called out in terms of making sure that everybody is safe,” Hintze said.

In the end, Hintze found the high attendance at the Spring Concert to be a positive sign of student life returning to Bowdoin in the aftermath of the pandemic.

“It was packed, and it’s good to see our students come out in droves,” Hintze said. “I think the vast majority of our students had an amazing time, and that’s great.”


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