GOOD GRIEF: NovaFest replacement to be tested

Matilda Swartz

As the sun sets and a navy hue envelops Villanova tomorrow night, all eyes will be on the Pavilion, not for coverage of any athletic-type extravaganza, but to watch and await the momentous occasion formerly known as NovaFest. 

Since the fall semester, the campus has been aflutter with mournful rumors over the death of what was once a much-hyped, weekend-long festivity. 

Due to lack of funding, declining participation rates and “unsanctioned events on West Campus,” Campus Activities Team made the executive decision to cut out many of the minor NovaFest-ivities, which in past years entailed a buffet of Philly delicacies at the Oreo, a daytime “beach” party on Sheehan’s lawn and an old-fashioned gymnasium dance. 

In March, CAT led most of the campus in a social-networking scavenger hunt intended to culminate in the announcement of this year’s musical guests: Christian, Colorado-bred The Fray. The leak of this information, along with a recent e-mail from the vice president of Student Life concerning the squashing of WestFest, has left the Wildcats boiling and bothered. 

There are a number of possible scenarios that can play out that fateful Friday, all with a variety of consequences.

Option A. There is the optimistic chance that this time, CAT got it right. 

In this rosy-hued vision, the Pavilion floor is barely visible. Anybody who is anybody has shelled out 30 bones for a night of baby-making ballads. Screaming Isaac Slade-adorers will be camping out down Ithan Avenue hours before the 6 p.m. door-opening in hopes of getting a glimpse of a pot-bellied roadie or, daresay, Slade’s blonde faux-hawk. 

Girls and closet-sentimental guys will practice the art of physically holding back tears so as not to face public humiliation during what is bound to be a wrought-with-emotion rendition of “How to Save a Life.” Cell phone backlights will sway, illuminating the basketball banners above, to the rhythm of sweat-covered ivory keys. 

At the end of the evening, Villanovans will pour out, sober and soft, texting old friends who got lost in the shuffle or calling to say “I love you” to someone who’s been waiting for it because, goddamn, that performance was so inspiring.

Option B. The cynics of the world will have contributed to this foreseeable doom, when at 6:56 p.m. it will be quite easy to see most of the lacquered floor panels despite the dim, ambient lighting. 

A sprinkling of dedicated Fray fanatics will show up with their less interested but easily bribed friends in tow, in addition to some Main Line tweens whose parents found the ticket price much more fathomable than the band’s typical $65 standard. 

The majority of the Wildcat pack is nowhere in sight, having cunningly clawed its way into a top-secret hibernation cave-turned-substitute WestFest location. CAT will, unfortunately, not have maximized profits or attendance rates, and the complete extinction of a springtime show will creep out of the rumor realm and onto an executive board meeting’s main agenda. 

Hopefully, CAT will not seek revenge on the Villanova population by going on a Happy Friday strike, ceasing to dole out my favorite sour green apple Dum Dum Pops.

Option C: my vote. While the extreme possibilities are more amusing to ponder, the voice of reason inside preaches to a different choir. If one had to guess, he or she might estimate a baby-bear-sized crowd: not too big, not too microscopic, no significant change from the size of last year’s spirited throng for Gym Class Heroes. 

After handing the final numbers over to some Bartley dwellers for crunching, CAT will find that by replacing cheese steaks, water ice and an inflatable slide with a Top 40 Adult Contemporary name, they made a profit by the stroke of an F sharp. This anticlimactic turn of events will instill no closure, no decisive insight for the future and a whopping amount of ambivalence toward NovaFest or Not-NovaFest or whichever label we’re subscribing to today.

The system is flawed — that much is indisputable. 

The sharp finger of authority can be manipulated to point in the direction of alcohol, unbeatable good weather or a lackluster choice of live act, but none qualifies as the crux of the dilemma. 

This paper commended CAT for attempting to consider student opinion when it surveyed us on who we’d like to see perform, but perhaps most students don’t care enough. 

Villanovans can be indifferent to tomorrow night because they got their campus concert fix at the University of Pennsylvania Spring Fling last weekend. 

We can turn the unruffled cheek because those who want to imbibe on a Friday afternoon in April are going to, Fray or shine. 

“It’s coming down to nothing more than apathy,” Sir Slade sings himself. 

Indeed it is, Isaac.     


Matilda Swartz is a sophomore communication major from Highland Park, Ill. She can be reached at [email protected].