USG faced notable backlash on social media following the cancellation of the Streetlight Manifesto concert that was set to take place late last month. It is the thought of many, including myself, that given the prominence of rap, hip-hop and EDM artists at campus concerts and in popular culture as a whole, rock music is often an afterthought when it comes time to decide the line-ups for campus concerts. The largest of these, Brookfest, is no exception. Is that really a bad thing, though? I say no.
As a rock lover, I would be pleased to find out that a rock band was headlining Brookfest. Beyond my affection for rock, I am also a fan of dubstep and EDM and even though I would prefer rock, it is best for those types of music and their artists to be given a degree of priority in the booking process simply because they apply to a broader demographic. Yes, Childish Gambino and Diplo may have been a controversial choice in 2014, but unless you still consider Maroon 5 a rock group and not a pop group, there are quite few rock artists in the broad public consciousness today that would fit the atmosphere of Brookfest. I was sorely disappointed at the cancellation of the Streetlight concert and would like to see more rock artists here in the future, but on the big night, LaValle should house a line-up that draws the biggest crowds and breeds the most excitement. Nowadays, rock is just less likely to do that.
This is not to say that there are not massive problems in the selection process. In my opinion, the secretive nature in which USG decides the Brookfest line-up is what leaves a significant number of students feeling burned by the decision.
Fanning the flames further, USG even joked on Twitter “Diplo was great but in 2015, Nothing Was The Same so just Shake it Off” It’s one thing to pragmatically “shake” off the desires of a vocal minority of rock fans; it is another thing entirely to patronize students with jokes like this, when we’re more than likely to be treated to another year of b-list rappers anyway. Instead of joking and hinting about possible headliners, publicize the options. The undergraduate community should be at least partially consulted.
Maybe there is enough of a following on campus that a number of rock artists could, and maybe a rock artist should, headline the event, but until USG reaches out to the community at large, its decisions will only be criticized more harshly. I think that rap, EDM and pop artists are a safe choice, but if you do not agree, you would be hard-pressed to find a way to influence the decision, and that is indicative of a bigger problem.