LETTERS

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October 30, 2009

Saltarelli’s critique of MAB misinformed

I was a bit surprised to open up the October 20 issue of the Chicago Maroon to find Steve Saltarelli’s article, entitled “Major Activities Bored.”

I was a bit surprised to open up the October 20 issue of the Chicago Maroon to find Steve Saltarelli’s article, entitled “Major Activities Bored.” As the chair of MAB, I would have thought that Saltarelli would have contacted the board in order to get some of his questions answered. While Saltarelli raises a few legitimate criticisms in his article, there are multiple inaccuracies I would like to address.

First, Saltarelli cites some of MAB’s past acts, including Eminem, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and U2. These acts were booked far before these bands had reached their current levels of success, including Eminem, who performed on campus after his Grammy wins, but was booked at least three months prior. Perhaps it was not Saltarelli’s intention, but the end result of this is to create expectations that MAB simply cannot meet.

Second, I take umbrage at Saltarelli’s unfounded insinuation that MAB made no effort to book a hip-hop artist for last year’s Summer Breeze, which he not-so-subtly implied with his assertion that MAB “[did] little to explain where the group’s $100,000 talent budget actually went.” In truth, MAB spent much of winter quarter pursuing a hip-hop act that eventually declined due to our inability to offer more money. Most hip-hop artists wait until late into the spring to book, allowing them to raise prices. This makes it difficult for us, as much as we try, to respond to the student body’s wishes on this point.

Furthermore, Saltarelli cites our Summer Breeze budget at $100,000 without any knowledge of the costs of our acts. Typical Summer Breeze headliners cost upward of $35,000, depending on how many acts are participating, and this number does not take into account technical costs.

Third, Saltarelli took it upon himself to deem last year’s Summer Breeze a “disaster,” despite a large turnout (over 2,500 students) and a positive endorsement in his own newspaper (“Broken Social Scene and Crew Shatter Expectations,” 5/19/09). I am not sure by whose standards this would be considered disastrous.

Frankly, I find the evidence in Saltarelli’s article to be either misleading or entirely absent, a situation that could have been easily rectified had he contacted MAB. While I will concede that the artists booked last year had a singular appeal, a failing that MAB intends to address in the coming year, this legitimate issue is buried under Saltarelli’s poorly supported and largely recycled criticisms.

Liat Bird, MAB Chair

Class of 2010