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Students expressed mixed reactions to BCA’s lineup. While some thought the artists were not the best fit for Spring Weekend, many shared their excitement for the event.

BCA faces backlash for Spring Weekend lineup selection, poster design

Concert Agency took down lineup poster from Instagram after SAO recommendation

Students expressed mixed reactions to BCA’s lineup. While some thought the artists were not the best fit for Spring Weekend, many shared their excitement for the event.

When Brown Concert Agency announced its highly anticipated Spring Weekend lineup on Thursday night, the response was swift and fierce. 

Quickly after the announcement, dozens of students shared their reactions on social media, including Instagram and Sidechat, to the release of the annual festival’s 2024 performers. While some shared their excitement for the artists, many voiced disapproval. 


“We get hate every year,” BCA Co-Head Catherine Yang ’24 wrote in an email to The Herald. “We know to expect controversy surrounding the lineup.”

But on Saturday, BCA removed the lineup release poster from their Instagram at the recommendation of the Student Activities Office, which received complaints from community members who alleged that the poster was “explicitly antisemitic” or “questioned what the organizers intended to convey about who was welcome at the Spring Weekend concerts,” wrote Joie Forte, senior associate dean and director of student activities.

Upon sharing those complaints with BCA on Saturday, SAO suggested that the organization temporarily archive the post as they looked into the complaints, Forte wrote. 

Red, black and green featured prominently in the previously archived lineup poster — which some students said mirrored the colors of the Palestinian flag, questioning if BCA intended to do so. 

The lineup poster announced Elyanna, a Palestinian-Chilean artist, as a featured artist in the weekend lineup. Many students shared supportive comments on her addition to the festival’s activities on the now-removed Instagram post, with several including reference to her Palestinian heritage. 

The lineup was un-archived late Tuesday evening, after this story was initially published. In an online statement released after the post was un-archived, BCA wrote, "We reject the notion that the lineup or poster contains antisemitic sentiments in any way and condemn all forms of racism and identity-based harassment that have arisen in response to our lineup and poster." 


Yang shared with The Herald that BCA members faced identity-based harassment and “inappropriate targeting,” which led them to take down Instagram posts featuring members of the student group.

“In regards to a few complaints we have received, we want to clarify that BCA is in no way a hateful or exclusionary organization,” Yang wrote. “We have always strived to represent different, and often underrepresented, sides of the student body across genres/demographics/languages with our lineup and graphics. We reject the notion that the lineup or poster contains hateful symbolism in any way.”

For most students, qualms with the announced lineup came from their unfamiliarity with the artists.

“I didn’t recognize many of the names, and I’m a person who really considers themself to be into music, so I was kind of surprised and I guess just a bit disappointed,” Nate Rodden ’26 told The Herald.

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“I hate to say that (the artists) are too small, but I feel like they just weren’t indicative of what Brown students actually listen to,” Chloe Daniel ’27 said.

BCA Co-Head Brian Wang ’24 said that the organization strived to give students as full a Spring Weekend experience as possible despite the cuts made to the program budget. 

“We wanted to still give people as much music as we could,” Wang said, adding that because the festival is only one day, BCA hoped to “extend the experience a little bit longer” by choosing four artists to perform.

With fewer artists in the lineup than usual, Yang said that diversity of sound among the artists was one of the most important considerations when curating the lineup.

“We’re always looking for new genres or new types of artists that we haven’t had before,” Yang added. “It keeps things fun and interesting for everyone, and can also put people on to the plethora of different musicians and artists that exist out there.”

But many felt that the artists selected this year did not meet students’ expectations for the event. 

Austin Xiang ’26, a former Herald reporter, said that while he enjoys the music of the artists in this year’s lineup, he didn’t feel that it was fitting for the event. “It’s not something that can really get a crowd going,” he said. 

“I’ve been giving a listen to each of the artists (and) it felt like some pretty mellow music choices,” Rodden said. “I’d like to see more variety … some energetic artists and some more relaxing artists.”

According to Wang, stage presence and the ability to perform were also key factors in the decision. “I’m really excited about all the artists in regards to their performing capabilities.” 

“Whether or not you might have known the artists beforehand, I think that a great performance is universally appealing,” Yang added. She cited last year’s headliner Remi Wolf as an example, noting that though many audience members had never heard of her before the lineup was announced, her “stage presence and magnetism” captivated audiences. 

Wang also remarked on the importance of diverse representation in the festival’s lineup. In particular, they pointed to the significance of headliner Yves Tumor, who is nonbinary. 

“Having someone that is gender non-conforming as our headliner is really exciting and it means so much,” they said, adding that they hope audience members will feel “heard, seen and represented” by the artists this year. 

Yang added that the group also considered diversity of language, highlighting the opportunity to feature Elyanna, who primarily sings in Arabic. Outside of Maye’s performance at Spring Weekend in 2022, which featured songs in Spanish, “we haven’t really been able to feature someone who is predominantly (a) non-English (performing artist),” Yang said. 

Some students felt dissatisfied with the organization’s decision-making process and expressed a need for more input from voices outside of BCA.

Fillip Gold ’26, who commented “straight garbage” on the lineup post, told The Herald he feels that the artist selection “should be more of a democratic decision,” allowing students to vote on performers. 

“I feel like just having more student opinions heard outside of BCA would have probably been more beneficial,” Daniel said. “It’s a concert for (thousands of) people and only like 10 people are picking it.” BCA comprises 17 undergraduate student members, who are selected by application.

“I know that there are some people who are huge fans of these artists, but I just don’t think that most people are,” Rodden said. “If there was at least a little bit of (student) input, I think things would have been different.”

Assembling such a large-scale event came with challenges. “It’s truly been an unprecedented year,” Wang said, noting that financial constraints coupled with a sudden change in faculty advising made this a “year of rediscovery” for BCA. 

“From the jump, we had significantly less budget (and) we weren’t going to be able to reach the same level of polish as last year’s Spring Weekend,” they said. “I think it was really easy to get disheartened.”

Yang added that labor-related costs for event staff and emergency medical services — which the Undergraduate Financial Board had covered in prior years — added further stress to BCA’s finances on top of the already limited budget. Because these costs were not something BCA previously had to consider, most of the funds to cover them had to be taken out of the budget set aside for booking artists. 

“Unfortunately, that’s kind of the only area where we can truly afford to be flexible,” Yang said, referring to the budget for artists. “We’re unable to sacrifice anything when it comes to production, security (or) any of the things that are keeping the festival safe and running adequately.”

Several students suggested that the money would have been better spent on a smaller, more recognizable lineup.

“I think the easiest solution would be to spend the budget on fewer, more popular artists, even if they can’t personally tailor to everyone’s music taste,” Gold wrote. 

“Despite less funding than years past, the BCA should have hired one exceptional headliner and left the other spots reserved for Brown student bands or Providence-based performing groups,” Daniel Solomon ’26 wrote in an email to The Herald. 

“I do not believe the lineup reflects what Brown students envision in their Spring Weekend,” Solomon wrote, additionally criticizing BCA for making the event a “partisan affair,” pointing to its branding and the context of the ongoing war in Israel and Palestine. 

Others expressed approval of BCA or questioned the notion that students should vote for artists. 

“It wouldn’t be as easy as saying, ‘BCA needs to give us how much money they have, and then give us a list of people and then we all vote on those people,’” Will Havens ’25 said. “As nice as it sounds, I think voting on this would kind of be impossible.”

“They’re doing their best with what they have,” Cara Hutton ’26 said. “They all want to give people a good experience.”

“Overall, I think it’s maybe a less popular lineup compared to last year, but I think the lineup is strong and people are gonna have a great time and find new artists,” JD Gorman ’26 wrote in a message to The Herald. 

Wang and Yang both acknowledged that the secrecy of BCA’s selection process can be frustrating for students and said that the organization has been working to be more “approachable” and “public-facing”. 

“We now have a communications team, which we feel will be a lot more helpful at connecting us with people on campus,” Yang said. She added that BCA sent out a Google form for artist suggestions this year, and plans to host town halls and other events in the future to gauge student interests.

Despite these setbacks, BCA remains hopeful for the prospects of this year’s festival.

“We’re really excited for (the artists) coming this year and the show that they’re gonna put on,” Yang said.

Some students are also optimistic about this year’s performance. 

“Certain people kind of went into learning about the lineup with a specific idea in mind, (and) I think that people should just try to be open about it,” Zaivion Hampden ’27 said, discussing the controversy surrounding the lineup. 

“Even though they might not have been artists … or the genre you would have wanted, it’s still worth going,” Hampden said. “Maybe you’ll like it at the end of the day.”

Editor's note: This article was updated at 10:56 p.m. to reflect that the Brown Concert Agency re-uploaded its Spring Weekend lineup. This article was also updated with additional comments published online by BCA.

Clarification: This was updated to include a more detailed characterization of community feedback to the Student Activities Office regarding the lineup poster.

Campbell Loi

Campbell Loi, a senior staff writer and copy editor for The Herald, is a junior from Syracuse, NY studying Public Health and International and Public Affairs. Outside of academics, she loves all things music and enjoys performing, arranging, and constantly listening to songs in her free time.


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