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Editorial: In order to appreciate Spring Weekend, we need to get on the same page

Springtime at Brown is marked by a few key images: the emergence of the first daffodils, the clusters of tour groups moving across campus and, of course, the University’s annual Spring Weekend. While normally a cause for excitement and celebration, this year’s  lineup generated intense controversy. In interviews with the Herald, students described being “disappointed”, claiming that the artists selected are not “indicative of what Brown students actually listen to.” Expressing public opinions (and yes, even grumbling) about the lineup isn’t a particularly new phenomenon at Brown, but it has been intensified this year — enough to prompt reporting by the Herald. 

While it is well within everyone’s rights to freely state their opinions, it is undeniable that this year’s discourse took on a particularly toxic tone. This not only creates an equally toxic environment on campus, but also can’t feel great for the incoming artists giving up their time to perform for us. So, while the perspectives of both the Brown Concert Agency and students are understandable, we all ultimately want the same thing: to enjoy Spring Weekend. And to do that, we need to reduce the misunderstanding over the concert’s purpose.

Spring Weekend is not exactly one-of-a-kind; many other colleges host similar festivals. However, BCA is unique in its consistent effort to identify and bring in artists a few years before they blow up in popularity. Despite the apparent riskiness of basing artists on predicted fame, they have also been surprisingly successful with this gamble, booking artists like Childish Gambino, Flo Milli and Anderson .Paak years before songs of theirs started dominating charts. This also means that each artist they bring in has a more niche appeal at the time of their performance, and we, as students, should not expect to know every name. 

Complaints about unknown artists should be tempered by the knowledge that these performers could be incredible new discoveries, appearing on your Spotify Wrapped this year before they are on the Hot 100 the year after. And just because the artists aren’t already your favorites doesn’t mean others aren’t excited about them. Ultimately, whether the payoff of these choices is worth the sacrifice in mainstream appeal is debatable, but many of the issues people take with the festival’s lineup could more appropriately be directed at the BCA’s relationship to the student body.


The BCA’s function is, as stated on its website, to organize Spring Weekend. This we all know. What’s more elusive is what its role is in selecting artists: should the BCA act as a tastemaker for the campus, or should artists be selected based on who will be enjoyed by the maximum number of students? The BCA does not openly commit to one or the other, and this lack of clarity in their decision-making means a great number of students seem to be unpleasantly surprised by their selections each year. It also does not help that the BCA members are appointed by its existing members and not popularly selected by the broader student body.If the BCA wants to make Brown students happy, this unelected structure should be balanced by more efforts to democratize and make transparent the decision of the organization.

Recently, BCA heads acknowledged that there is a need for greater communication with the student body and noted that there are initiatives in place to improve its “public facing” aspects. The town halls suggested by a BCA member could also help to this end.These spaces could provide a platform for students to ask questions and demystify the decision-making process.Perhaps even more effective would be using social media to communicate with students — posting a profile of the artists in the lineup, explaining what each one offers to Spring Weekend and the importance of their music, for example. Additionally, the BCA should clarify how it is utilizing its existing feedback tools, like the artist request form on its website. While it is a step in the right direction, it is unclear how effective this form is and how it is even used. While not all students may still agree with the strategies that BCA uses, such measures would at least reduce the confusion we see now.

As for the student body, there is also room for improvement in its engagement with BCA. For one, students must recognize that many factors go into securing artists for the Spring Weekend lineup. Securing talent is much more than just fitting an artist’s normal booking fee within the BCA budget (which also must be used for security, sets, merch, etc). And BCA’s decision-making is only a fraction of what makes Spring Weekend the event that it is. Our attitude towards the concert, the way we choose to come together on the green and celebrate the end of the spring semester, is what actually determines our experience. 

We all should remember that Spring Weekend is one of the few times we come together as a student body in a single space. This is an experience defined by all being squished up against each other on the Main Green, dancing and cheering together with friends and classmates you might’ve never met otherwise. There is a certain amount of openness we must embrace in order to make it fun for everyone — including with the lineup. And if you really are completely unfamiliar with this year’s artists, now is your chance to dip into their discographies and get familiar. 

Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board and aim to contribute informed opinions to campus debates while remaining mindful of the group’s past stances. The editorial page board and its views are separate from The Herald’s newsroom and the 134th Editorial Board, which leads the paper. This editorial was written by the editorial page board’s members Paul Hudes ’27, Paulie Malherbe ’26, Laura Romig ’25, Alissa Simon ’25, and Yael Wellisch ’26.


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