No Students, No Gigs

Alexandria Smith, Copy Editor

A lack of money and interest in live musical entertainment is behind the dearth of on-campus performances, say students and officials.

The latest performance was Andrew Marks on Feb. 20.

“People don’t go to hear music,” said Student Activities Director Darcy Brodmerkel.  “A very small handful of people go to see music. So we pay a lot of money to have these performers come in, and our history has said that sometimes we have two to three people sitting in there for the performers. I feel bad. And I think those two or three will stay just out of feeling bad for that person.”

Brodmerkel said students seems to be interested in connecting with peers and enjoying other types of entertainment.

“We spend a lot of money to have more entertainment in the Den. So, the people that usually go enjoy what’s there – the mentalist and things like that. But it’s lots of times getting people out who say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know about it,’ or, you know ‘I sat in my room and watched Netflix,'” said Brodmerkel.

First year psychology/physical therapy major Shannon Morgano said musical performances offer a passive type of activity that may not attract everyone.

“I think it’s because, with the mentalists, and the comedians, it’s very interactive and music is not always very interactive with the audience, so people don’t really feel connected to it. But personally, I like to listen to music because I like to hear the stories behind it. I think it’s very cool,” said Morgano.

Brodmerkel said arranging performances is challenges because they must be planned far in advance and the cost is steep.

“The money that we spend on these guys to come in and do a set is a lot different than what you may think that they’re paying at a local bar. It’s always going to be a lot higher. So, any halfway decent musician is going to come in and do an hour set for, you know, $1500, $1800,” said Brodmerkel.

Another roadblock is coordination with other campus organizations planning their own events, particularly Cougar Radio.

“They were supposed to do something this year with it and they asked me if I would allow them to move forward with their program, which I did, and they haven’t followed through,” Brodmerkl explained. “So they were going to supply the artists for Tunes [at Noon] and then they wanted them to play in the Cougar’s Den at night in hopes that people would want to go to the local establishments and see these bands. No one ever followed through. So that was on hold since the beginning of the fall semester,” she said.

First year English major Julia Whitesell is still hopeful that more musicians will perform.

“I love concerts. I love going to concerts. It’s been a thing I’ve always loved doing and I think it’s a really good experience, so it’s a really good idea to have musicians come to campus.”

Whitesell also believes that music might even offer and sense of unity among people on campus.

“That’s what I love about music. It’s so universal that you go to a concert and there’s a big group of people and you’re all there together experiencing the same thing and you’re having this big, shared experience. That’s what I like most about music – it brings people together,” said Whitesell.

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