The UB Student Association (SA) abruptly canceled this year’s Fall Fest concert Tuesday afternoon.
In an unsigned statement posted on the SA’s Instagram account, the student organization said “logistical complications, such as being unable to secure a date for an indoor location,” meant the organization could not host the annual concert this year.
Last year’s Fall Fest, the first since the COVID-19 pandemic, was held outdoors.
The SA budgeted $300,000 this semester for “Fest Production,” according to the organization’s general ledger. The SA’s approximately $4.5 million budget is funded by the mandatory $109 student activity fee.
A spokesperson for the SA declined to comment to The Spectrum about the cancellation, saying, “SA requires a minimum of one week to respond to inquiries.” They added that SA President Becky Paul-Odionhin will email a statement to the student body “soon” about the situation.
It remains unclear what that money will be used for or if there will be a Spring Fest.
This year marks the first time Fall Fest has been canceled due to a non-pandemic-related reason since SA started hosting the event in 1991.
Fall Fest is among the SA’s largest and most expensive events — the student organization spent just over $215,000 on last year’s Fall Fest. UB lists the concert as one of six “UB traditions” that defines life at UB.
Students took to the comments section of the SA’s Instagram post to express their frustrations with the cancellation and the SA in general. At least 255 comments, mostly negative, were left on the post as of Wednesday morning.
“I still have to pay my fee. And my club doesn’t even get ANY money… now this?” a commenter asked.
“This is why you vote no to the mandatory student fee!” another student commented.
Students interviewed by The Spectrum were equally frustrated. Ike Svitavsky, a sophomore studying computer science, said the cancellation raises questions about SA’s handling of funds.
“I am paying for that. I pay a significant amount to be here, right? A part of my money, part of my bill, is going towards that stupid festival,” Svitavsky said hours after the SA’s announcement. “The fact that we don’t know where the money has gone is upsetting.”
Fall Fest is one of the SA’s two annual concerts, alongside Spring Fest. Tickets for undergraduates are typically free. Recent Fall Fest performers have included Gunna, DaBaby, A Boogie, Lil Baby, Young M.A, Fivio Foreign and Yung Gravy.
Fall Fest’s cancellation isn’t the only SA move to spark controversy this calendar year.
Last semester, the SA senate voted unanimously to raise wages and stipends for multiple SA employees — including the president, vice president, treasurer, council coordinators and 36 hourly positions.
In March, the SA Senate passed a policy banning certain clubs from affiliating with outside organizations over the objections of several club leaders. The policy was repealed after the UB Young Americans for Freedom sued SA in federal court this summer.
And earlier this month, SA disabled the Discord chat for club officers after several officers expressed frustration with delays in mandatory club officer training that effectively put club budgets on hold.
Alex Novak and Dominick Matarese contributed to the reporting of this story.
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