Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Los Campesinos! concert part of larger trend to hold events in spring

Credit: Sloane

For the first time since Menomena’s December 2009 concert in Reid Ballroom,WEB is sponsoring a major band’s performance at Whitman. On May 6, WEB will collaborate with KWCW to host a concert featuring two popular bands: the UK group Los Campesinos! and the Los Angeles experimental punk band No Age, currently signed to the Seattle label Sub Pop.

According to WEB’s Music Entertainment Director, junior Matt Coleman, the process of getting a band to come to campus was arduous, and he did encounter setbacks, but the ultimate result was a real success.

“It’s not like you can just snap your fingers and a band will be here,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, and it really doesn’t depend a whole lot on who’s in charge, who’s organizing it. It really comes down to the artist, and whether they want to come or not. Walla Walla’s a great place, but I mean, it is like five hours from anything. So that’s one of the difficulties I encountered. You just have to roll with the punches.”

As a relatively new organization formed through a restructuring of ASWC Events, Campus Activities Board and several student activities programs at the end of last year, WEB has had to adjust to a new framework while planning concerts this year.

Another new aspect of this semester’s concert will be the involvement of Whitman’s radio station, KWCW. According to senior Andrew Hall, the station’s co-general manager, strained relations between KWCW and the former ASWC Events Board kept the station from organizing its own concert for several years.

“This is the first time that something like this has happened in a couple years,” he said. “I’m really happy that, especially with this transition to the new Whitman Events Board, there was the opportunity for us to start this new relationship with them, which I think is going to be really productive.”

But while the reorganization of programming groups on campus was significantly helpful in some ways, it has not been without its setbacks.

“Last fall, we didn’t have enough time to plan a big concert that would have worked because WEB was really new,” said Coleman. “We had just gotten our budgets, and by that time, it was kind of late in the game to be booking bands.”

Assistant Director of Student Activities Leann Adams pointed out that this is actually not unusual; although WEB makes a concerted effort to spread its programming throughout the year, it and many other organizations on campus tend to organize a slightly higher number of events in the spring.

“Yeah, we do generally see that as a trend,” she said. “In general over the last year or two, we’ve seen more events in April, and even in May than at other times of the year. But I think that programming from my department, from student activities and from WEB, was pretty heavy in the fall as well, although this year was a little bit of a challenge, just because of the new programming structure that came into effect. I think maybe September was a little slower than we’re used to to.”

This tendency to have more programming in the spring semester has drawn criticism from students who choose to study abroad in the spring, but particularly this year, because of WEB’s slow start.

Junior Amanda Protti, who is studying abroad this semester in Nantes, France, felt that WEB’s line up of programming this semester is better than last semester, citing upcoming events like Los Campesinos! and a lecture by Ralph Nader, scheduled for May 5.

“We had Salman Rushdie and Girl Talk during the same semester my freshman year,” she said in an e-mail. “The inconsistent programming from semester to semester at Whitman is unfair to those who choose to study abroad in the spring. Because of its location in a small town, one of the most important aspects of ‘the Whitman experience’ is the guest speakers and concerts that the college brings here. Studying abroad is amazing and I wouldn’t trade the experience for a Kid Cudi concert or to hear the Pope speak, but I’m still not happy that my peers are getting so much more now than I was offered last semester.”

Coleman has a number of friends studying abroad, and recognized the problem from the beginning, but it was unavoidable, as he sees it.

“That’s just the way it worked out this year, unfortunately,” he said. “I do have friends who are abroad this semester, and they know who I’m bringing, and they’re not happy. So yeah, I agree with that concern, and I’ve been thinking about that, but, for example, there could have been a big concert in the fall, and people would have missed that, too. And, also, it’s a pretty small percentage of the Whitman population, in reality. A majority of the campus is here.”

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