Spring concert band prompts concerns about selection process

Geneseo Campus Activities Board has chosen Catfish and the Bottlmen for Geneseo’s spring concert (lead singer Van McCann pictured above). As a result of this choice, some students are concerned about how effective GCAB’s selection process has been in taking students’ feedback into account when choosing the artists each year. Students explained that they would like more diverse artists offered as well as a more transparent selection process. (Tomas Adams/Creative Commons)

Geneseo Campus Activities Board announced on Monday March 20 that the band Catfish and the Bottlemen will headline this year’s spring concert on April 30 at 6:15 p.m. in the Kuhl Gymnasium. The concert will be offered free to students. 

Following the announcement, students had various reactions regarding the chosen artist and GCAB’s process in choosing this artist. 

In the fall semester, GCAB sent out multiple surveys to students asking for feedback on what genres and artists they preferred, according to Student Association Director of Student Programming Molly Downey. Afterward, GCAB hosted an open forum in which students could vote for the top artists and approximately 15-25 students attended. 

“Although we didn’t get a huge turnout this year, I think we had a passionate group of people, and that could be even better than having 100 people who don’t really care so much,” GCAB Concert Coordinator sophomore Nicole Rizzo said. 

After the forum, GCAB used a booking agent through the company Concert Ideas to contact potential artists, asking prices for the artists and negotiating the date and time. Geography major junior Benjamin Freiman said that he believes that in order to get a bigger picture of what artists students want, GCAB should have hosted more forums and made the artist choosing process more transparent. 

“If I could give any recommendation to GCAB, it would be hold more than just one forum, especially if the forum that they do hold is very under attended,” Freiman said. “I would also recommend to be more transparent throughout the entire selection process as opposed to just giving us little bits of information, like, maybe at five months.”

Freiman was also concerned about the lack of diverse artists Geneseo has hosted over the years, citing that most of the artists have been indie-rock white male bands. 

“The only time there was a hip-hop artist here [within the last few years], it was a white hip-hop artist,” he said. “There are so many wonderful artists of color who are touring and who want to play college shows, and we chose an obscure band who no one seems to be very excited about.”

Freiman highlighted several hip-hop artists of color that fall under GCAB’s budget of $50,000 that he would have preferred to see perform at Geneseo, including several members of the Wu-Tang Clan performing as solo artists and other popular artists such as Ja Rule, Danny Brown and Vince Staples. 

Accounting major sophomore Brooke Monfalcone echoed Freiman’s sentiment, saying that students would be more inclined to attend the spring concert if their style of music was represented. 

Students also criticized GCAB for its methods of publicizing the student forums and surveys. Psychology major sophomore Meghana Kakarla explained that sending students emails about regarding opportunities for feedback can often get lost in students’ inboxes due to the significant amount of emails students receive. 

Valley Entertainment Coordinator for GCAB junior Leila Sedigh, who is in the process of organizing the opening act for the spring concert, said that she hopes that students take action to allow their voices to be heard in the future at the open forums provided for them instead of complaining after the artist has been chosen. 

“I feel like if students are going to complain and want to have a voice—and we want to hear their voices—they need to show up and let us know instead of just going on social media,” Sedigh said. “Otherwise, we can’t really change anything other than doing what we think students would like.”