Silenced voice


I had nightmares all weekend. I woke up sweating in the middle of the night screaming, "Leave me alone!" before I snapped out of it and realized it was just a dream.
Except it wasn't.
All last week I battled my way through the frenzy of Student Association elections in the Student Union. Between the Student Alliance and the ONE Party, if I had one more campaigner shove a flyer in my face urging me to vote, I would've taken regrettable actions.
I don't have a problem casting my vote. After all, it is part of my student obligation to let my voice be heard. I do, however, have a problem with both parties' campaign slogans stating that they're "for the student population."
Really? Because I beg to differ.
After months of speculation, SA proudly announced that Three Days Grace will headline Spring Fest 2010 with opening acts N.E.R.D. and Lady Danville, in addition to two unnamed acts.
Are. You. Kidding. Me?
That's the best you could do? A '90s alternative rock band that took nearly 11 years to hit it big with a platinum album that only reached 69 on the US charts? They've had their fair share of gold hits with "I Hate Everything About You," "Animal I Have Become," "Pain" and "Never Too Late," but is it really enough to sign the band on to headline our spring concert series?
Hardly.
Spring Fest has always been a highly anticipated event on campus. It's the end of the year celebration – one last hoorah on campus before exams and senior commencement. You could even say it's a reward for students who've spent endless hours spent at Capen stressing over finals.
Sorry to say, but this year students may end up opting to spend their Saturday night at Capen instead of Alumni Arena.
This isn't the first time in the past four years that SA has dropped a goose egg on Spring Fest. Last year, the annual April concert featured punk rockers Rise Against, and The Roots headlined in 2007 – not too memorable.
SA did reel in Akon and T-Pain in 2008 for a night to remember. T-Pain wasn't on stage long enough to make a lasting impression, but his over the top mascot opened eyes. Akon started off a bit rocky before his oddball DJ fell off the turntable, nearly breaking his neck and every piece of equipment on stage.
The night was a success in my book.
If you claim to be the voice of the students, then give the students the chance to be heard. There's no reason why we shouldn't have a say in who we want to headline our concert.
Survey the student population on an ideal music genre or compile a list of possible headlining candidates. Take those results and hire an act that you know the students will be excited for.
If that idea doesn't satisfy your minds, then do us all a favor and broaden your horizons. My patience has run out on the customary rotation of hip-hop to punk rock bands between the fall and spring concerts.
I'm sick of having to watch rap and hip-hop artists run around stage while waving a towel in the air as they hold a firm grasp on their man-meat. I'm sick of hearing poor acoustics make a national rock band sound like underground rockers performing in Billy's basement for a kegger party.
Didn't Lupe Fiasco's performance make you want to find a new playlist after he told UB students they suck?
Here's an idea: play something country.
Country music has taken the music business by storm in recent years. Its popularity is expanding vastly with country rockers Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and Toby Keith.
If electric guitarists aren't your style, try Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood. How about mega-groups including Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum and The Zac Brown Band? Smaller acts from Darius Rucker to Jason Aldean and Gloriana can pack just as big a punch as the mainstream stars.
Do you honestly believe outsiders will spend $35 on a ticket for this year's lineup?
Country acts sell out venues around Buffalo and Western New York year-round (including UB's own country acoustics show at The Center for the Arts). A country act is going to draw a bigger crowd outside UB students, and we all know what that means – revenue.
I'm not suggesting to specifically target a country music act. But I am suggesting that you give us something fresh and new to look to forward to.
Stop choosing one of the recently played artists off your iPod to headline Spring Fest and give UB students a voice. Maybe then your crowd will exceed the attendance of a high school musical.

E-mail: joe.paterno@ubspectrum.com