Organizing back-to-back concerts featuring well-known acts is extraordinarily hard work.
We can't even imagine the full range of concerns that students in the Brown Concert Agency face each year in arranging Spring Weekend. By and large, BCA does a tremendous job of finding performers and making the show happen, and the Brown community should be appreciative of their efforts. Nonetheless, justified discontent with the Spring Weekend ticketing process persists.
The process has improved significantly in recent years. Starting last year, BCA limited students to two tickets per show and moved to an online ordering system. The cap on tickets helped reduce the problem of students buying tickets for outsiders. And at least in theory, the opportunity to order tickets electronically at a predefined time is preferable to waiting in a long line.
Given the size of the possible venues, the process will not be perfect. In the first round of sales, BCA can only release enough tickets to fill Meehan Auditorium, in case weather forces the show to be held there. This is just a fact of life for Brown's 6,013 undergraduates, who are only initially supplied with about 3,000 tickets per show. Those who comprise the excess demand have little choice but to wait anxiously for the week of the shows, when BCA evaluates the weather report and finalizes the venue. If the shows are held outside, then about 1,500 more tickets per show are made available — even then, still not enough to guarantee each student a ticket for both performances. We recognize BCA is facing restrictions they cannot control.
But under these circumstances, BCA certainly shouldn't make things worse. Unlike previous years, this year BCA allowed Rhode Island School of Design students to purchase tickets at the same time as Brown students. A BCA member told the editorial page board that this move was intended to show gratitude to RISD, as BCA was allowed to use a RISD auditorium for the fall concert without charge. But Spring Weekend is a long-standing Brown tradition, and no quid pro quo should impact Brown students' ability to get tickets.
As far as steps in the right direction, we propose this: Starting next year, in the first round of ticket sales, the limit should be one ticket per show per person.
As long as the number of students is greater than the total available tickets, a one ticket per show per person rule is the only sensible policy. If you have a significant other or sibling at another school that you were hoping to invite, then tough luck — he or she can come visit you on a weekend that isn't supposed to be a communal celebration. Students should only be able to buy a second ticket if extras remain.
Of course, all this assumes that the Web site can handle the traffic, which this year it clearly couldn't. Even though tickets went on sale at 8 a.m., everyone we talked to said they weren't able to place an order until closer to nine. This was particularly frustrating for students who woke up early, hit refresh often, and still couldn't get tickets. A member of BCA told The Herald on Tuesday that the website would be up to the task. Next year, BCA should take the necessary steps to ensure this is the case. If this isn't possible, then the line-up in Faunce House is how it has to be.
For now, though, all anyone can do is pray for good weather. We're keeping our fingers crossed.
Editorials are written by The Herald's editorial page board. Send comments to email@example.com.