May 20, 2011

Blowing off steam

After admirable effort, MAB can make small changes to ensure greater Summer Breeze success.

As one of the largest and most anticipated events on campus, it’s important that Summer Breeze be consistently successful. However, while the day is supposed to celebrate the end of dreary winter weather and spring quarter midterms, this past Summer Breeze fell on a cold and rainy day. The inclement weather prompted a massive modification of the carnival and evening concert, which left many hopeful attendees disappointed. Although plenty of students still enjoyed themselves this past weekend, the Major Activities Board (MAB) could learn a thing or two from this season’s Summer Breeze about how to make future ones better for the University community.

For the past two years, Summer Breeze has taken place on wintry days that are hardly reminiscent of its namesake weather. Although springtime in Chicago is notoriously fickle, MAB should consider holding Summer Breeze later in the quarter–closer to ninth week instead of seventh week. Waiting until later in the month of May would increase the chances of the weather being sunny, warm, and perfect for an outdoor concert.

MAB would also be wise to make Summer Breeze a more cohesive, community-wide event by having the concert on the main quad and open to the public. Northwestern’s Dillo Day and Yale’s Spring Fling, both events similar in significance to Summer Breeze, host free concerts available not only to the student body but to the University community. Every student should have a chance to stop by and appreciate the music, even if they can’t spend their whole afternoon at the concert. Making Summer Breeze free and open would be best for the student body, the wider community area, and the University’s reputation.

Although both parts of this year’s Summer Breeze went relatively smoothly despite the inclement weather, MAB could have done a better job publicizing the changes it made to the concert. For one, MAB did not actively notify ticket buyers about the concert’s venue change to Mandel Hall. Attendees had to go either to MAB’s webpage or the Summer Breeze Facebook event to see the changes. Though this is a valid way to notify attendees, an e-mail or message the night before,alerting students as to the possibility of a venue change, would have greatly decreased confusion the next morning both as to whether or not the concert would take place outdoors and who would be able to attend.

Concert ticket-holders were also met with the unwelcome surprise of having their tickets voided unless they were one of the first 1,000 buyers. These last-minute changes with little notification left many students disappointed and without any alternatives for the night. As Chicago weather is often unreliable, MAB should better articulate the 1,000-ticket rule during the sales process, allowing students to time their purchase better.

Although we feel MAB is able to improve scheduling and publicity, this year’s Summer Breeze concert undoubtedly boasted one of the best lineups in years. From the Walkmen to Wale, a variety of genres were represented. Having four entertaining, energetic acts perform over six hours made the concert a unique on-campus experience, even in a cramped indoor space. There can be no dispute that the concert was a success; the only drawback was that it was enjoyed by a mere lucky thousand. Next year, MAB should ensure that thousands more enjoy one of the most festive events this College has to offer.

The Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Viewpoints Editors, and an additional editorial board member.