For the first time in 28 years, Fly Day has been cancelled in response to heavy pressure placed on organizers from the community and the college.
The Fly Day committee decided that no public event would take place this year, though they "hope that Fly Day continues in one form or another in the future."
Fly Day is a music festival that has been held at Geneseo since 1981. "It promotes many local bands," said the Fly Day staff, who wished to remain otherwise anonymous.
"It is a locally funded and supported outdoor concert where people from all walks of life can come together and have fun listening to good music," said the staff. "That's what it's all about to us."
"The community atmosphere is not really right for having Fly Day this year, especially after the recent tragedy," said the organizers in reference to the death of sophomore Arman Partamian. "There was also heavy pressure from the school faculty and administration to refrain from having it."
"Fly Day has gone on safely for decades, but it is unfairly associated with 'that' element of Geneseo life," they said. "Music festivals have a reputation of being big parties and that probably prompted the knee jerk reaction from Geneseo to want us to cancel the event."
Despite information available to the public on the Gamma Chi Epsilon Web site which states that, "The Brothers and Sisters of the organization put on a once-a-year music and fun festival, (see FLY DAY)," the Fly Day staff said that they are "an independent body and not officially affiliated with the college or any of its organizations." As a result, Geneseo had no direct way of stopping or controlling Fly Day.
"Fly Day is completely unregulated by the school and, in light of the recent tragedy, Geneseo is trying to cover its tracks and save its image," said the staff. "Image is very important to this school right now and they did not want a huge music festival happening that they could not control."
The first inkling of pressure to cancel the event came from the Groveland Fire Department, which rents the field for Fly Day to the organizing committee. "We considered other venues before the final decision to cancel the event," said the Fly Day staff. As time went on, however, "There was more pressure from both the community and the college to cancel it," they said. "It was really out of respect for the community feelings about what happened earlier this year that we canceled Fly Day."
The Fly Day staff said that they are disappointed in the change of plans and have received feedback that fans of the event are upset by the cancellation. While recognizing the tragedy that occurred earlier this year and the concerns that have arisen, the Fly Day staff said that the negative reaction from the college is "unwarranted and unjust in this case."
"Fly Day is a big boost to the local economy, as people from all over and from across generations attend and bring a boost to Geneseo," said the staff members. "Also, it gives talented local bands exposure, and some of them go on to become huge. In fact, moe. played at Fly Day in 1994 and is now headlining huge festivals."
According to the staff, "Fly Day is a valuable Geneseo experience and a real positive tradition for the community."
There is information available to the public on the Internet that refers to a "Phantom Fly Day," scheduled for specific members of the Geneseo community to replace the official event. The Fly Day staff, however, denied the existence of such an event and noted, "If there is anything like that, it won't be a public event."