For the first time since Coolio came to campus in 2007, the Georgetown Programming Board will host a fall concert. GPB and the Senior Class Committee should be applauded for bringing Lupe Fiasco—students’ first choice in last year’s GPB artist survey. However, with so many concert venues in D.C., GPB and SCC should think critically about whether on-campus concerts are the most effective use of their funds.
Because our University is located in D.C., on any given weekend Georgetown students have access to great concerts. It doesn’t make sense for GPB to host a concert on Georgetown’s campus—with its poor concert venues and limited resources—unless their events can outdo these expensive local alternatives in pricing.
But tickets to see Lupe Fiasco are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. There is nothing wrong with bringing artists to Georgetown, and while GPB concerts do not always go smoothly, they are always popular. But on-campus concerts are not worthwhile unless tickets are both subsidized and reasonably priced. Tickets for concerts being held at the 9:30 Club on the same weekend sell for either $20 or $25—the same price for a ticket at the McDonough parking lot. Unless GPB can make its concerts more affordable, they will be no different than the many that are already available in D.C., but with worse sound quality. If the SCC and GPB did not have the funds to adequately subsidize a fall concert, they should have saved their money for something else.
For example, many of the great concerts in the D.C. metropolitan area are difficult to get to from Georgetown. The easiest way to get to the Virgin Mobile Freefest held at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD on Sept. 25—a free festival that included LCD Soundsystem, M.I.A., Ludacris, Pavement, Chromeo and Sleigh Bells—was by car. If giving students access to great concerts is really their priority, GPB could spend their money on shuttle buses to take students to concerts at better venues in the area.
It’s great that GPB and SCC were able to bring Lupe Fiasco to Georgetown. But hosting on-campus concerts only makes sense when students either don’t have the opportunity to see shows elsewhere, or when the on-campus shows are significantly cheaper than local alternatives. Without acceptable on-campus venues or the funding required for subsidized tickets, GPB’s fall concert is ultimately a waste of the University’s limited resources.