In defense of concert headliner, TWENTY ONE PILOTS

tumblr_static_top_backgroundScreen Shot 2014-07-21 at 11.45.39 PMWhen CAB announced that Twenty One Pilots, a relatively lesser-known electronic band with two iTunes top-selling songs right now, would headline next Saturday’s annual Spring Weekend Concert, a few smiled while most threw their arms up in angry astonishment.

T-Pain! WALK THE MOON! One Direction! Taylor Swift!

WTF?! The possibilities were endless… (But not really.)

It’s the same story every April: CAB announces a headlining act(s), people get pissed off because it’s not who they wanted and then those same people find themselves a few days later moshing on Martyrs’ Lawn, entangled in a maze of sweaty limbs, screams and glares from a dutifully observant Dean Rodgers.

This year, I dare the Debbie Downers to boycott the concert. If no one shows up, they’ll get the message and bring a big-name next year, right? Listen to T-Pain from your dorm room and leave us out of it!

The concert’s headlining act changes from year to year, but the reaction always seems to be the same. It’s no secret that name recognition will always be a challenge facing CAB and its guest selection process because of budgetary and “Jesuit mission” restrictions.

As a matter of pure fact, administrators try to avoid controversy and thereby control which artistic groups come to campus. They have the right to veto artists, but should they?

While many are quick to note that no guest speaker has ever been prevented from speaking at Fordham, I — and I think many others — don’t buy the argument that a lecture inherently holds more value than an artistic performance or concert. Why does traditional academia sit higher than culture, art?

I would urge administrators and CAB — feel free to jump in USG! — to make the artist selection process far more transparent. Stop treating this like it’s some sort of state secret — the high of the big reveal only lasts a few seconds. Loop students into this conversation, and perhaps even if the censorship doesn’t loosen, students will have a better understanding of where everyone is coming from.

And as for the budget, don’t believe everything you hear. While a large chunk of Fordham’s programming budget is devoted to Spring Weekend each year, no one comes cheap.

At the end of the day, let’s not forget that we’re spending a spring Saturday with friends on our beautiful campus listening to free live music. Don’t blame Twenty One Pilots for school policies that have existed since long before you arrived on campus.

Not liking is different than not knowing. Check this band out, you may be surprised.