Road to a poorly selected Fest paved with good intentions

Spring Fest lineup announced, bemoaned

The Spring Fest 2014 lineup, chosen and organized by the Student Association, draws some immediate questions, including but not limited to: Who are these bands? Why is the selection so poor? What else is going on May 2?

The Band Perry is headlining the show with openers Gloriana and Citizen Cope. The selection reflects a shift in the typical hip-hop/rap bias of past Fests by focusing squarely on country music, with Citizen Cope bringing a more soul and folk vibe.

Though this change in genre follows growing calls for more diversity in school concerts, the selection is disheartening at first blush, and potentially downright dreary - these artists aren't known for lively revelry and songs conducive to an exciting college atmosphere.

Spring Fest, arguably more than any other concert in the academic year, offers the opportunity to blow off finals steam and begin to shake off the stress from a long year. In years past, this has been a time for upbeat artists like Steve Aoki, Rick Ross and Wiz Khalifa, not softer country and acoustic sets.

This is not to say the lineup had to be anything but country, as the genre and its concerts are rapidly becoming known for rabble-rousing, stadium-filling shows. Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and Dierks Bentley are all examples of artists with the appropriate vibe.

For those less schooled in modern country repertoire, this year's artists are either completely unfamiliar or just barely recognizable, further limiting pre-concert excitement.

The Band Perry is unmistakably known best for their 2010 hit "If I Die Young," which topped country charts and hit No. 14 in the Top 40. The song's penetrating vocals and somber lyrics defined its success. As its title suggests, however, it is less than a thrilling, vivacious tune.

The sibling band hasn't seen success like that first hit since, the closest being 2012's "Better Dig Two," though the song has an equally depressing theme. The song centers on the female narrator assuring her husband she'd rather die and be buried next to him than live without him.

Cute or not, death and burials are usually low on the list of things students want to jam to after a long academic year, two weeks before summer break.

Citizen Cope will be performing an acoustic set. The ability of an amplified acoustic six-string to drown out what is typically drunken carousing by the student body has yet to be seen.

This one-man-band is best known for a handful of television shows and movies his songs have been featured on, including Entourage and Coach Carter.His biggest hit, his album Every Waking Moment,piqued at No. 69 on the Billboard Charts - in 2006. He would have likely been a better lineup choice for Justin Long's conjured-up South Harmon Institute of Technology (the movie Accepted came out in 2006).

Gloriana is likely the most, or only, relevant artist on the lineup. Well known in the country realm and with up-tempo, enjoyable and non-morbid songs like "Wild at Heart" and "Wanna Take You Home," they may be the injection of life this fest will need.

With bemoaning across social media at the announcement, morale is not high at the outset. The genre change was welcome, particularly for those students who enjoy country, but the artist selection itself was simply suboptimal.

Whether due to rushing, a limited budget (despite not having a small concert series this semester) or other confounding factors, our seniors' final Spring Fest likely will not be the most memorable - at least not for the right reasons.

There is more to putting together a good, diverse concert than a genre change.