Spring concert acts repeatedly lack diversity, student inclusion

There is always high anticipation for the announcement of the spring concert artist—and a lot of controversy and complaint. Booking a band for the spring concert is not an easy task because it is impossible to satisfy every student’s wishes for certain genres or artists. 

The past few spring concerts, however, have noticeably lacked diversity in both of these criteria.

Geneseo Campus Activities Board recently announced that the 2017 spring concert will be British rock band Catfish and the Bottlemen, which was received with mixed student reactions. The past few spring concerts hosted similar indie-rock bands—such as New Politics and Walk the Moon—while there are plenty of hip-hop or R&B artists that are within the concert budget.

Part of the difficulty of choosing the artist is due to the different methods used to gain student interest and input. This fall, students were emailed a genre and artist survey. They were later welcomed to an open student forum—which was attended by approximately 15-25 students, according to GCAB.

In previous years, surveys included specific artists that were already approved for the budget and students could only choose from those bands. With this year’s survey, it was challenging to pinpoint a popular artist, as students had the freedom to choose from any artist available for booking. 

While this was beneficial because students could offer suggestions for different bands and genres, it did not necessarily narrow down options and garner most student interest.

There will always be mixed reactions to spring concert artists when not enough students fill out the survey or when some are generally unaware of when or how they can contribute. But when the decision must inevitably be made for booking an artist, it would be appreciated if majority-white, indie-rock bands are not the repeated choice for the spring concert. There is a lot of potential for students to be happy with the spring concert choice, and hopefully more students will be further involved in the process in the future. 

Choosing more diverse bands and genres of music will relate to more students and will make students feel as if their opinions were heard.