SpringFest cancelation explained

Jessie Hellmann

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graphAfter the cancelation of SpringFest, a music festival and tradition that has taken place at USI for the past ten years, confusion swept through the university as students questioned why it isn’t happening this year.

WHAT HAPPENED?

 Provost Ron Rochon said SpringFest was canceled because the man in charge of it, Director of Career Counseling Tim Buecher, is retiring.

“What we have is one person with a wealth of knowledge leaving. When that happens, things shut down,” Rochon said. “It’s an opportunity for all of us to come together and look at where we want to go.”

Every year SpringFest lost money, the university would cover it, but Rochon said money is not the reason it was canceled. However, some of the members of the student-ran SpringFest committee think money played a part in it.

 

 

“I’m sad about (the cancelation). I wish more money were set aside, but it’s good to step back and look at it,” said student member of the committee Nick Mathis. “I think the big issue was we were spreading ourselves too thin.”

He said costs added up because of additions such as the carnival and field trips for youth in the community to experience the festival.

“There was an overall increase in costs, attendance was down, and not as many (students) wanted to go,” he said.

Mathis said even though Buecher was retiring, there were still enough people who had worked with SpringFest before that the festival shouldn’t have been canceled.

“I think there were enough of people on campus, people who have been with (SpringFest) for a long time, that SpringFest could be done this year. There would be a lot of heavy planning though,” he said. “ I understand why it was canceled, but I don’t agree with it.”

SpringFest Committee member Johanna Caress said she thinks the committee members felt pressure from the administration to raise enough money to cover expenses.

“Being on the committee, being at the meetings where it’s like, ‘Crunch time now. We have this much to pay for this and we don’t have enough money for this,’ I think we felt (the pressure), but not everyone (felt it) like the students,” she said.

She said before she joined the SpringFest committee, she had no idea how much money went into putting the whole festival together.

“I didn’t realize they’re paying that much for the bands to come, to rent the booths, to pay for the signs, for advertising, for all of that stuff,” she said.

She said she does not think the goal of SpringFest was to make a profit.

SpringFest Co Director Joe Giannini said he was disappointed SpringFest had been canceled at first but that he kind of expected it.

“From what I understand, it was just canceled to find the best way to make it work for the university and the students,” he said. “It was going to be a difficult year with Tim (Buecher) retiring because no one knows the extent of what goes into SpringFest.”

He said it’s not completely bad that it was canceled.

“I was sad to see it happen, but I think it will give us a good chance to make it better,” he said.

He said money was part of the issue.

“Money is always an issue,” he said. “It’s always going to be, especially when the university is not funded properly through the state. Until it is, money will always be an issue. The university is definitely struggling with that.”

Every year, the committee requested money from student groups such as the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Activities Programming Board (APB) to help fund SpringFest.

“It was understood that we needed other forms of income besides what the university gives us. That’s always going to be something that we’re going to have to work with,” he said. “I see it as a good thing. We tried our hardest to get it, and if we didn’t that’s just how it worked.”

WHERE IS USI GOING FROM HERE?

Rochon said a committee of faculty, students and past SpringFest committee members will meet in January.

“We want to examine SpringFest and think about what it was before and where we want it to go,” he said.

He said having SpringFest every other year instead of every year could be a possibility.

“It could be a challenge to do every year,” he said. “We’re not saying no – we need to know what resources are involved.”

He said he’s optimistic there will be a SpringFest, or something like it, in 2014, but he wants to start with a clean slate.

Mathis said he is upset the festival was canceled, as it has been a USI tradition for 10 years. He said some things may need to be cut out of SpringFest such as the carnivals he’s not sure many college students attend. He said SpringFest should focus on its strengths such as the outdoor stages where local bands performed during the weekend.

Caress said she hopes SpringFest comes back.

“I hope they can have it come back – this is my last year,” she said. “IU has the little 5, Purdue has the Grand Prix. Every school has something. It’s kind of like our thing to look forward to.”

SNOOP DOG? JAY-Z? LUDACRIS? PROBABLY NOT.

Last year, The Shield published a story titled “Filthy lyrics, too much money: why the top vote getters were never an option,” about how Rochon said he didn’t want to bring any artist to USI who expelled insulting lyrics.

He said he still sticks to this standard.

“If this university is going to bring artists on campus that expose racial, sexist or homophobic lyrics, that’ll be a problem for me,” he said. “I hope it’s a problem for everyone in the community. We don’t want USI to perpetuate that.”

He said he rejects the idea that USI should be like Indiana University (IU) and bring artists such as Lil Wayne.

“We’re not IU. We don’t want to be IU. We have our own distinct identity,” he said. “I’m not trying to treat anyone like a child.”

As for other big artists who don’t have degrading lyrics, Rochon said they just wouldn’t come here.

“Big artists won’t come here. They’ve made it clear they wont come here (because) we don’t have the acoustics or the room,” he said. “They’d come to the Ford Center, but we won’t take acts off our campus because once a USI function leaves USI property, we have very little say in what happens.”

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