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Solomon ’26: Spring Weekend must bring Brown together

I think I speak on behalf of many Brown students when I share my dismay and frustration with how the Brown Concert Agency decided to conduct this year’s Spring Weekend.

Brown’s M.O. is generally to not take things too seriously, and we like it that way. In fact, the 1985 Spring Weekend slogan read “Take Life S/NC.” We are not a sports school; in fact, I would bet that most students are unfamiliar with the lyrics to our fight song, “Ever True to Brown.” This passivity towards school spirit extends to other areas of campus life as well. Most students are unconcerned with student government, given that the most recent UCS, CCB and UFB elections had 21% voter turnout with several positions left vacant. These kinds of structures typically serve as essential forces for unity, civic virtue, and camaraderie on American college campuses.

At Brown, Spring Weekend has emerged as a unifying force in this absence. It is the one time every year that our campus comes together despite differences of perspective or background: STEM students and humanities students, Blue Room enthusiasts and Ratty regulars. Spring Weekend is a moment — the moment — when we all come together on the Green in celebration of each other and the community we share.

Since 1950, and with previous iterations dating back to 1898, Spring Weekend has been a fundamental component of community at Brown, and has contributed significantly to our school’s cultural development. It is our campus heartbeat and, as described in The Herald more than a decade ago, the “spirit of the University.”


And for decades, Spring Weekend has lived up to its promise. The BCA is credited with bringing greats to College Hill such as Bob Dylan, R.E.M., Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Snoop Dogg, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, and Young Thug, among many others. In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a powerful Sunday morning sermon in Sayles Hall on Spring Weekend.

This year, however, the BCA has gone awry. The organization that has long served to bring the campus together, using music as a powerful unifying force, is in jeopardy.

This year has been one of the most polarizing and divisive in campus history, in clear parallel with political culture in American and global politics. War and conflict abroad have created a firestorm on campus, dividing our community, straining friendships and relationships, and fostering the perfect storm for groupthink. 

This year, at this moment, we need Spring Weekend now more than ever to bring Brown together and share our common humanity. Too much is at stake: We cannot accept anything less than success, because in doing so we are willing to allow cliques to become permanent divisions and wounds to become scars. As the last weekend before Reading Period, Spring Weekend marks the end of this academic year. We cannot leave College Hill with our community strained. We need closure. We need unity. We need the promise of Spring Weekends past.

After months of conflict, I allege the BCA willingly and intentionally decided to make the Israel-Hamas war a focal point of this year’s Spring Weekend. Despite their coverup, BCA’s branding was intentional. The theme and tone they set was deliberate. While the original Spring Weekend promotion depicted flowers, music notes, and a spring color palette, the lineup announcement featured aspects synonymous with the war: the colors white, black, green, and red, a watermelon, and — to many viewers — an ambiguous man wearing a combat bandana, a symbol of war. This sentiment is expressed across the University, with students questioning whether they are welcome at Spring Weekend, combined with inflammatory Instagram comments on the announcement and a later statement by BCA. This was further exemplified by the Student Activities Office’s recommendation to suspend BCA’s advertisement campaign. No student should ever question whether they are welcome at Spring Weekend because of their ancestral background, religion, or national origin. Ever.

It is cowardly for a nonpartisan group to push one side of a narrative on which intelligent and thoughtful people strongly disagree; it takes courage to put partisanship aside and create opportunities for building bridges. Division and partisanship will only besmirch the legacy and philosophy of Spring Weekend as a force to bring Brown together. 

BCA sets the tone for Spring Weekend. They could have highlighted artists like as1one, the first-ever Palestinian and Israeli male pop group, on the Main Green to demonstrate the true power of music as a force for unity and mutual understanding. While not exactly the “vibe” of Spring Weekend, the Galilee Chamber Orchestra and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra are prime examples in Israel and Palestine of how music can bring people together, not tear communities apart.

But frankly, the war should never have been a component of Spring Weekend to begin with — it was completely unnecessary, provocative, and insensitive. After this year of incredible divisiveness and polarization, the BCA had the opportunity to mend relationships and build bridges. Instead, they used a large percentage of our student activities fee to dig these wounds deeper.

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. I do not believe the lineup reflects what Brown students envision in their Spring Weekend. Bringing a “basic” artist is okay — preferred, actually – if it means bringing everyone together on the Green and having a great time.

The Brown Concert Agency must learn how to recruit qualified candidates who understand there are other components to organizing a large-scale music festival beyond “loving music.” The BCA must also recognize their unique position to bring Brown together despite differences of background or perspective. When the BCA was given lemons, they chose not to make lemonade.


Spring Weekend is not a free event. We pay for it every semester at the bursar’s office, and the BCA receives an outsized share of our student activities fees. We deserve accountability, and the BCA need not hesitate to issue a public apology.

For the sake of our community, we need BCA to live up to its legacy.

Daniel Solomon ’26 can be reached at Please send responses to this op-ed to and other op-eds to

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