Editorial: Novafest more than just another concert

It’s nearly finals week, which typically means that students can look forward to a fun-filled Novafest weekend. Beginning with the Friday night Quad block party and culminating in a veritable smorgasbord of bands playing to thousands of students seeking release from the stresses of studies, the event is anticipated by just about everyone on campus.

The concert goers are only one indicator of this event’s popularity. Each year, more than a dozen student groups volunteer to man booths to provide further entertainment for the students. Speculation as to what bands are playing and what activities will be provided generally picks up as soon as the board announcing how many days until the celebration appears in front of Dougherty Hall.

Though the various activities are an important element of Novafest, the bands which perform are truly the jewel in the event’s crown. In the past, Novafest has succeeded in bringing fairly high-profile musical acts to enhance the event. Last year, Pat McGee Band, The Clarks, Finch and Spindle headlined the event to the delight of most students. In 2001’s celebration, ’80s pop icon Tiffany wowed audiences by day while Funkmaster Flex provided evening entertainment in the Spit.

Unfortunately, this year the bands selected to play are not of the caliber previously offered at the spring celebration. While Burnt Sienna is a capable cover band, its regular appearances at Brownies detract from the uniqueness offered by other acts which are perhaps more obscure but at least fresher to the ears of students.

The installment of student bands is a refreshing idea, but selecting three of them seems a bit excessive, especially when a battle of the bands competition has already taken place. Putting one student band in the roster would have been more sensible.

Part of the problem, in terms of selecting a band, was the financial burden faced by CAT, which sponsored concerts by Our Lady Peace and Something Corporate this year. This proved to be a serious drain on resources for the group, which is relied upon heavily for Novafest funding – so much of a drain, in fact, that SGA contributed funds to help them secure entertainment.

While having two concerts throughout the course of the year is a treat for students, the importance of Novafest makes it a much higher priority event. If financial problems continue to contribute to the lack of quality entertainment, one of the concerts must be scrapped so that students can enjoy Novafest. The popularity of the celebration is a testament both to the obvious need for such an event and the hard work the committee puts into it each year. Wiser financial planning and better scheduling will make the annual celebration all the more enjoyable for both the organizers and the students.