Opinion: SA needs to diversify the music lineup for Parkfest
Parkfest 2018 was last weekend, and was once again dominated by hip-hop/rap acts. This has been the case for almost a decade; the last time that the event had a genre besides that was in 2008 when Phantom Planet played, and in 2007, which had Cartel and Augustana. But since then, and for all four years of my University at Albany experience, it’s primarily been hip-hop or rap. I’d argue that Whetan ― the 19-year-old electronic DJ that played this year’s concert ― is the most diverse act they’ve had since then. I’m sick of it, and the Student Association should diversify the lineup once in awhile.
This isn’t simply a personal issue of bias. I’ll admit that I’m a huge fan of alternative/indie music, but I like hip-hop and rap as well. This is an issue of just repeating the same concert over and over again, to the point that having a non-rap artist would be a surprise. If SA announced that a group like Arctic Monkeys was playing Parkfest, I’d be flabbergasted. It’s to the point now where Parkfest has the connotation of being a rap concert rather than anything else.
It also doesn’t help that this concert feels as if it’s always being thrown together at the last minute as well. This year, it was announced less than two weeks before it was being held, and that’s usually how it’s been the past few years. Half my friends didn’t even know when Parkfest was, let alone who was playing it. And once the lineup was announced, most of them were as sick of the same genre as I was, and they didn’t go either.
It would also be nice if students had some input into who gets selected to play the concert. Two years ago, I remember being emailed a survey from SA that contained choices for who I wanted to see play Parkfest that year. We got no such emails last year or this year, which seems to indicate that SA really doesn’t care what students think about who they get to play. This would make sense because they also don’t seem to care about following their own bylaws or keeping track of their own money in an efficient way.
I’m not saying that Parkfest needs an entire transformation, but it does need a slight one. For example, maybe having a different genre of music every year. If one year is dominated by hip-hop, have the next year be devoted to a different one. Or perhaps have multiple genres within one show. In 2016, Binghamton University had T-Pain and Walk the Moon headline their spring concert, and that’s an interesting, diverse concert I’d definitely attend. But until then, it looks like we’ll be stuck with the hip-hop trend for years to come.
I’m graduating in May, and I’ll be doing so without having attended a single Parkfest in my four years here. The lineup simply never appealed to me, and I threw away the idea of going almost every year once the concert’s acts were announced. And honestly, I don’t really have any regrets about not going.
What’s the point in going to a concert to see acts that I’m not interested in? The point of going to a concert is to see a performance by an artist that you know you’ll like, and you shouldn’t have to be bribed to go. Perhaps if there was a bit more diversity in the lineup, I would’ve gone.