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Piekarz '24: It’s Time to Reform the Brown Concert Agency

Spring Weekend is supposed to be a time of celebration for all students, a grand finale to Brown’s academic year. Historically, the Brown Concert Agency, tasked with organizing the Main Green Festival in late April, has courted artists such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Kendrick Lamar and Young Thug.   

Earlier this month, BCA unveiled this year’s lineup: Yves Tumor, Jordan Ward, Elyanna and Weston Estate. Sound familiar? It didn’t to most students. 

This isn’t the first time students have expressed disappointment with BCA. Last year's Spring Weekend lineup, featuring Remi Wolf, JID, Ethel Cain, Doechii, Alice Longyu Gao and 070 Shake, garnered mixed reviews. But this year's lineup selection takes that disappointment to another level. This year’s poor lineup selection, in tandem with a political twist on the event, has all but irreparably undermined the student body’s trust in the board. Only a series of serious organizational reforms can restore that trust. 

There are elements to appreciate about the lineup this year. Yves Tumor blends experimental and avant-garde influences. Jordan Ward focuses on soulful R&B. Elyanna brings a modern twist to Arabic music. Weston Estate explores the realms of indie and alternative music. 


However, the fact remains that none of them are mainstream pop artists. Considering BCA’s budget is $300,000, one might anticipate the inclusion of at least one artist with broad appeal. 

So why has BCA failed to appeal to the broader Brown community? 

One of the root causes of this disconnect may be BCA’s organizational model. As a student-run organization with an internal recruitment process and just 17 members, BCA risks forming musical and ideological echo chambers. And, in recent years, BCA’s echo chamber has become increasingly detached from the broader campus community. This trend is especially concerning given that BCA is a university-funded organization whose work impacts almost every student. 

It’s no secret that tensions have flared on campus since Hamas’s October 7th attacks. BCA’s failure to appeal to the broader Brown community goes hand-in-hand with its stunning politicization of this year’s event. The giveaway is not just the presence of Palestinian artist Elyanna, but that BCA’s official lineup announcement graphic features a black, red, white and green design that resembles the Palestinian flag. The design also includes a watermelon — a symbol of anti-Israel activists — and a green-faced figure wearing a white bandana. (For reference, Hamas’s colors are green and white and Hamas terrorists are known to wear headbands.) Even if such imagery wasn’t BCA’s intention, it’s beyond irresponsible. There’s no need to elaborate on why it serves to alienate the majority of the Jewish and Israeli communities on campus.

While BCA initially archived its lineup release Instagram post after pushback from the Brown community, it doubled down on its lineup and graphic Tuesday night, denying accusations of antisemitism. Some may interpret this as a diversion from more clear-cut concerns.

BCA claims it’s committed to upholding the “safety and inclusivity” of Spring Weekend, but it hasn’t addressed criticism that it politicized this year’s event with targeted choices that only inflame recent tensions on campus. This approach reflects the same kind of careless decision-making that marred the lineup selection, without any overture to the tastes and interests of the student body at large.

It’s precisely because of the recent campus atmosphere that many hoped Spring Weekend would be a time to detach from campus tensions, party and celebrate music, as college students do. It could’ve brought the campus together. As a graduating senior, I certainly hoped it would. BCA could’ve tried to maximize student body satisfaction and ensure that all students felt welcome at the festival. Shamefully, BCA prioritized niche tastes and effectively turned Spring Weekend into a pro-Palestine rally at the expense of student enjoyment. 

It will take BCA significant reforms to win back student trust with future Spring Weekends. Here’s how they should begin: 

First, BCA needs to turn its recruitment process inside out. Starting next fall, all BCA members should be elected for yearlong terms through a campus-wide voting campaign. Additionally, this democratically elected BCA should further empower students by allowing them to rank potential headliners via a simple voting process. BCA would then consider these student preferences when constructing the lineup. 

During the lineup construction process, BCA should prioritize mainstream pop artists. Securing a mainstream artist may consume a significant portion of BCA's budget — but this would be a worthwhile investment. Students want music they can sing and dance to, songs they know the lyrics and rhythms of. They would favor a lineup featuring one prominent headliner supported by up-and-coming artists rather than a roster of four lesser-known performers. 


Finally, BCA members should complete anti-bias training every year. Further, BCA should explicitly enshrine in its bylaws that future Spring Weekend events may not alienate members of certain ethnic, religious, social or political affiliations.

These changes are essential to dismantling BCA’s existing musical and political echo chamber and ensuring the organization re-aligns itself with the rest of the student body. Given that BCA’s budget is sourced from the University, it is imperative that the University actively facilitates the transition of BCA’s board to a more inclusive and representative governance structure. 

Spring Weekend’s legacy as Brown’s storied, signature celebration weekend depends on it.

Ben Piekarz ’24 can be reached at Please send responses to this op-ed to and other op-eds to

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