UB Spring Fest 2017: A long time in the making

Delay of announcement is worrisome but expected

My freshman year, I had no clue of the magnitude of SA’s annual fest.

I was elated after hearing one of my favorite southern rappers T.I. would be performing alongside then-newcomer Schoolboy Q. The announcement came just weeks before I would step foot on campus and it arrived via a leak from Ticketmaster’s website.

It seems as though leaks and Tweets about rumored artists are the best way of rolling out fest lineups.

As students wait for an official announcement, this year’s Spring Fest has still not been announced as of Sunday night.

The fest, slated for April 28, was teased by SA on Twitter last week but wasn’t met with an official announcement. Other tweets about the fest came from Buffalo’s Barstool Sports account last week, bringing to the surface rumors that rapper Wiz Khalifa would be the fest’s headliner.

Regardless of what is confirmed and what’s not, students shouldn’t have to worry about checking social media 24/7 for fest information. The announcement’s rollout should be quicker, but students should be able to believe in SA’s abilities to announce events seamlessly.

To SA’s credit, a lot of planning is involved in making sure things run smoothly. This can involve everything from logistics to contract negotiations with fest artists.

The amount of money that students spend, however, merits a more finely-tuned and understandable announcement process.

Students pay the $104.75 mandatory student activity fee every semester to help with funding for the fest. Concertgoers deserve at least a month’s notice of what they should expect from the festival.

This lack of notice should soon be met with an announcement, but now, fans will have less than three weeks to prepare for the show.

Ticket reservation will begin on April 17, which will most likely be followed by ticket distribution the following week. The distribution event would come the week of the show and could be chaotic for those who hoped to have tickets in hand weeks ago.

The reservation system and its following distribution will complicate things for students who hope to sit together.

The SA ticket reservation system has seen fewer crashes since its introduction but students who want to go to Spring Fest together have to plan accordingly. Students who wish to sit in the same section have to arrange to do so over text, complicating the process.

The week of Spring Fest should also be hectic, especially with James Franco’s Distinguished Speakers Series event and Oozefest all taking place during the same weekend. This should be all the reason for more preparation for students who might have other obligations.

Aside from the announcement itself, the genre of the show itself remains a question.

Students who favor hip-hop over EDM, or vice versa, have no idea what to expect from the fest. This essentially gives students a grab bag.

Furthermore, what should upset students the most is yet another fest will be held in Alumni Arena. There hasn’t been an outdoor festival since 2015’s Spring Fest was held in the Lake LaSalle lot.

Although I didn’t attend that year’s Spring Fest, 2014’s Fall Fest still remains the best I’ve attended solely because of the show’s outdoor atmosphere. Music festivals are supposed to be held outdoors, not in a sweaty and packed venue.

Of course, weather can play a huge factor in making the choice to hold the fest in Alumni Arena. The university itself, however, has given SA restrictions that have made them hold the concert indoors.

What the weather will be on April 28 is anyone’s guess, but the choice to hold the fest shouldn’t be made weeks before knowing the forecast.

All these factors combined have made fests nerve-racking for concertgoers who have come to accept these difficulties. If past Spring Fests are any indication of what to expect this year, the mix of artists could be received anywhere from well to poor.

Years past have found headliners such as electronic artists Steve Aoki and The Chainsmokers. Other times have seen country pop act The Band Perry and rapper Rick Ross.

One can only hope to not see a repeat of the 2003’s almost-too diverse Spring Fest lineup – a lineup which saw Godsmack play alongside rappers Lil’ Kim and Nas.

Nonetheless, students should cross their fingers and hope for the best. Even though the announcement process isn’t too hot, students should leave their concerns at the door once Spring Fest begins later this month.

Benjamin Blanchet is the Asst. Arts Editor and can be reached at benjamin.blanchet@ubspectrum.com.