Planning an event that over a third of Trinity University will, hopefully, attend is a daunting task. It requires months of organization and dozens of moving pieces all working perfectly together. This also means that a dozen uncontrollable circumstances must fall into place perfectly: The weather, the artist performing well, attendance — things that the Student Programming Board (SPB) has almost no control over. At both concerts I have been to, the board has done an exemplary job in all the categories they can control, but sadly the ones out of their reach have at times hindered the overall fun of the concert.
For my first Welcome Week Concert, SPB got the electronically oriented artist 3lau, who I’d heard of beforehand. Some people I knew were pretty excited to see him, but when I got there, the number of no-shows blew me away. This was a free concert, which people had worked multiple weeks to perfect, and they had just decided to stay home for one reason or another. But otherwise, I felt the night went well.
This reality was not shared in this year’s Welcome Week Concert. Thanks to Hurricane Harvey, the concert had to be moved. SPB did a great job of scrambling to then find another date for Cashmere Cat, the artist that would perform. After finding a date that worked, they began trying to get the campus aware of the new time and did everything they could to get people hyped for the make-up concert.
The change of time proved fatal for attendance. While I didn’t count everyone, I would be shocked if more than 175–200 people had showed up. This led to a very dry, flat and overall not-so-amazing concert experience. Also, Cashmere Cat was not what I would call the most incredible artist, so the atmosphere and overall feel of the concert fell flat for me.
I feel bad for SPB. They did all they could to create a good atmosphere, but due to unforeseen circumstances and the fact that Cashmere Cat is a mediocre performer, this year’s concert was a flop. To avoid this, I believe there are a couple things that SPB and Trinity University can do to make next year’s concert a success.
The Welcome Week Concert should be first-years’ first dive into a new and beautiful college experience and an exciting and memorable night for returning students. A vital component is a better venue. While the grass mall near Prassel isn’t the worst place, I know that San Antonio has a lot of concert venues. A portion of SPB’s budget could be put towards booking a concert hall for Trinity to go buck-wild in for one night.
This would also mitigate weather as a factor in hindering the concert. A new venue — the nearby Paper Tiger on N. St. Mary’s Street, for example — would create an electric and intoxicating atmosphere that grass near a football field doesn’t really yield. While the venue may need to be bigger than the Paper Tiger, the idea of finding a better venue could attract more students and create a better atmosphere.
The second vital component to the concert would be a well-liked artist. This is easily the most difficult part of the entire concert; before saying anything else, I must say that SPB has done the best job they can in choosing an artist for a campus of more than 2,500 kids. Picking an artist to meet everyone’s musical taste is impossible.
Yet, I think they have now made excellent steps towards bringing students into the mix by asking them to send in suggestions, giving SPB a feel for what the campus would like. From those suggestions, they could then pick the top six and have the students vote and SPB sees which is the most suitable and most possible. At the end of the day, the final decision is by SPB but by integrating the students more, it would then put an aspect of the success of the concert on them. If you don’t speak your opinion and perform your civic duty, then it’s hard to complain if you don’t like the artist. I think SPB adding this addition of the students to the choosing of the artists is brilliant and really puts the success of the concert in the hands of the people attending it.
At the end of the day, planning the Welcome Week Concert is a crazy task, one that many talented people do an exemplary job on, and I thank them for that. Trinity’s community should attend their events as a thank-you for the work they do to create fun experiences for us. They are a vital part of the Trinity ecosystem and their value should be recognized.
The Welcome Week Concert at its core is for the students, and by integrating them more and by moving the location, I believe people will not only enjoy the concert more but also make them aware of how great it is to have a free concert put on for us by a hardworking group of people.