Springfest blooms at last

Finally.

Students held their breath for months as the Council for University Programs (CUP) delayed announcing this year’s Springfest lineup. Who could blame them? After a spell of bad luck the past few years, including circumstances out of their hands like President Richard Freeland yanking the mat from underneath 2004’s Ludacris concert and last year’s late cancelation of headliner Mos Def, it’s no wonder CUP postponed the announcement until they were absolutely certain every band was 100 percent onboard.

They even kept their lips sealed when this publication questioned if they had started early enough to attract a big-name act. They didn’t mention they already had two big-name acts confirmed, Dashboard Confessional and Jurassic 5. They didn’t want anyone to drop out and leave students with a bitter taste in their collective mouth. Understandable logic.

And CUP delivered. Finally. But it wasn’t merely that the student group booked a solid lineup that was varied enough to satiate the gamut of student appetites (complete satisfaction is impossible, but this at least hit the key demographics). The real triumph is the efficiency of the show. For the first time in memory, CUP endured a relatively pain-free Springfest.

Everything just seemed to run more smoothly. The concert’s 50 student volunteers set record times in unloading semi trucks and setting up the stage Saturday evening – times that are unheard of even in the professional industry, said Andy Sellars, the group’s concert chair. But more importantly, CUP greatly reduced the wait time between sets from last year, speeding up the tortoise pace to that of a well-oiled machine.

It was maybe dramatic – gasp! – like they knew what they were doing. They did, because they listened when student’s gave them feedback last year. And they’re still listening.

The only major complaint they received thus far, Sellars said, is the amount of time it took to usher students through the metal detectors at the arena’s entrance. While this problem isn’t in CUP’s control for the most part, Sellars said the group is going to address how to make entering the show more efficient next year.

He said while some ideas for improving logistics of entering the venue would require serious discussion with the Public Safety Division, CUP is very willing to go into those discussions if they could lead to giving concertgoers the best possible experiences.

That ambition is great, but talking only goes so far. CUP must make sure action is taken, doing whatever’s required to improve this aspect of the concerts. Luckily, if this year serves as any sort of a harbinger, we’re in good hands.

For the biggest and most expensive student-oriented event of the year, CUP’s task is to give the students what they want. That mission is a tall order when you try to please about 15,000 different tastes. But it’s assuring to know they’re listening. And it seems they’ve got it figured out, and things can only get better from here. Finally.

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