Swarthmore's independent campus newspaper since 1881

Tag archive


Worthstock and LSE Artists!

in Arts by


With only a few days to go, the Worthstock committee announced who will perform for Worthstock and LSE. The Worthstock committee is a group of students who undertake the responsibility of working with the administration to reach out and book artists for

Worthstock. For the freshman out there, Worthstock is a yearly tradition constituting a day of debauchery the Sunday after classes end in the spring semester. This year, THEY. and Father will be performing on Sunday, April 30 in Worth courtyard.

THEY. is a R&B and hip-hop duo that entered the rap scene in 2015, and appeared on ZHU’s album Genesis Series in 2015 as well as GENERATIONWHY in 2016. After spending early 2016 touring as Bryson Tiller’s opener, THEY,  made up of Drew and Dante,  released their first album, Nü Religion: Hyena in 2017. They’re most popular songs include U-Rite, Motley Crew, and Back it Up. The self-described “Grunge&B” duo has a highly danceable sound with influences spanning rock, R&B, and hip-hop. THEY. are currently on their first headlining global tour and quickly gaining steam.

Father is a rapper who originates from Atlanta. He hit the scene in 2014 by going viral with his song “Look at Wrist.” Father also runs the collective Awful Records. Father is an established figure within underground hip-hop, especially on the internet, and has gained a cult following. Father is best known for his viral song “Look at Wrist”,”Everybody in the Club Getting Shot”, “Heartthrob” which came out in 2016.

The LSE artist, DJ Luca Lush, was announced on Wednesday by the Worthstok committee. Luca Lush is a producer out of Chicago known for his genre-blending remix abilities. If you’ve never listened to anything produced by Luca Lush he recommends you listen to his songs “Cadillac w/Dirty Chocolate”, “I can tell”, “IT G Ma”, and “Get it on”.  

You can check out both Father and THEY. on Spotify, YouTube, and Soundcloud and see them live in Worth courtyard Sunday afternoon.

Worthstock Weekend ’16 arrives amid confusion

in Arts by

During this upcoming weekend the college will host Worthstock Weekend ‘16, this year’s iteration of the annual spring celebration featuring music, food, and overwhelming relief for the end of classes.

Worthstock Weekend ‘16 will take place from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Friday night, as well as from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Friday will feature music courtesy of DJs, Jack O’C ‘17, Nika Kravitz, and EKALI accompanied by snacks. There will also be an LSE PreParty on Friday hosted by Kitao including student bands, s’mores, the work of junior studio art majors, and the new issue of Small Craft Warnings. On Sunday, Tory Lanez will be headlining Worthstock, preceded by four student bands who performed at the Battle of Bands. Altair, Honey Pickup, and Funk the Patriarchy will be performing, along with champions of the Battle of the Bands, GOODGOODNOTBAD.

“We’re pumped,” said Stefan Laos ’17, the drummer of GOODGOODNOTBAD, on their impending performance.

“[The win] was a band effort,” said Sam Wallach-Hanson ’18, who plays saxophone for GOODGOODNOTBAD and Funk the Patriarchy.  “I think it had a lot to do with the crowd. We’re such an energy based band, and when the crowd’s energy is good, we play infinitely better.”

The members of GOODGOODNOTBAD announced that they’ll add two covers of popular songs to their normal set of freestyle rap over instrumental jazz and one of them will include Desta Pulley ’17, the sister of vocalist Tiyé Pulley ’19. Additionally, the band has added James Wallace-Lee ’17, the keyboardist for Funk the Patriarchy, to their lineup and will also play a few songs with Christine Emery ’16, who plays horn as a part of Funk the Patriarchy.

Unfortunately, this year’s Worthstock has been the subject of much confusion and frustration in recent weeks. For the past several months, there has been a prevalent rumor around campus that the headlining act for Worthstock would be popular Atlanta hip hop duo Rae Sremmurd and that there would be no LSE.

Instead, it was announced on Monday that there would be an LSE, with the performers to be announced Tuesday, three days before they are slated to perform. The announcement of the DJs performing at LSE provoked some confusion and negative response from the student body, as many students were unfamiliar with the artists. An anonymous source on the Worthstock committee explained the committee’s process.

“Nika Kravitz and EKALI are talented DJs and electronic music producers. They may not have recognizable names outside of their genre, but I think a lot of people who have an interest in electronic music, beyond top 40 hits, are very excited to see them both live,” said the source.

The source went on to clarify that the name “LSE” is a relic of past times, when the majority of the budget was not devoted to the Sunday afternoon performer.

Much of the negative response from the student body was centered around the unexpected change in headliner. The rumor about Rae Sremmurd performing was widespread to the point where many students assumed it to be fact. Much of the drama played out over YikYak, the college’s performed forum for anonymous online gripes. On Monday night, as the result of the lack of an announcement from OSE, an anonymous student held an impromptu Q&A. After the announcement that the headliner would be Tory Lanez, YikYak exploded with complaints from a wide variety of displeased students. The app saw finger pointing between OSE interns and Worthstock committee members as well as allegations that the source of the problem was Rae Sremmurd’s management, who allegedly sent the college incorrect payment info, leading to a deposit going into a wrong account.

The Phoenix’s anonymous source explained that Rae Sremmurd was, in fact, supposed to headline Worthstock but that even the members of the Worthstock committee were largely kept in the dark regarding contract negotiations.

“About a month ago, the committee decided that Rae should be our primary target for a headliner. We communicated this to the administrators working with us to organize the event. The process was out of our hands after that because students are not allowed to talk with artists’ agents or be involved in contract negotiations,” said the source. “So we waited week after week while the administrators worked with Rae’s agent. At one point we were told that the deal was basically finalized and that we could announce after sending an initial deposit to Rae. However, the administrators never gave us word that this deposit went through. Yesterday, during our meeting, they announced that Rae wasn’t happening, with the only explanation being that ‘the contract didn’t happen.’”

An anonymous source within the OSE revealed that the issues in contract negotiation were, in fact, with Rae Sremmurd’s management, who were taking a while to get back to the college. Additionally, Rae Sreummurd’s management was apparently not satisfied with some terms of the contract, other than the price.

This information was clearly not shared with the Phoenix’s source on the Worthstock committee, explaining some of the tensions between OSE interns and committee members. The source expressed regret that the committee members were not allowed to be more involved in the process.

“I still have no idea what went wrong. It’s unfortunate that the administration doesn’t trust students with these details; I think that many students on the committee feel like we were treated like children throughout the process,” they said.

However, the source on the committee also did confirm that Tory Lanez was always on the shortlist for headlining artists.

“Our current headliner was on our shortlist of artists for a while, so when Rae didn’t work out he was the next artist on the list. The administration contacted his agent and negotiated a deal within a 24 hour period, which is quite remarkable this late in the process,” they said. “He is a really talented artist that not many people know about. He’s worked with some crazy talented producers like RL Grime and Snakehips, he made Complex’s Artists to Watch in 2016 list, and he’s headlining a European tour this summer.”

Additionally, there are other events planned for Sunday, including inflatables and food trucks. The reason for these events not being clearly publicized at this point is unclear, however the source was able to shed some light on the activities and explain the lack of activities on Saturday.

“There’s going to be a ton of activities on Worthstock Sunday. We’ve ordered a ton of inflatable slides, obstacle courses, and games that will take place on Mertz field and there’s going to be food trucks, other food, and water available all day in Worth Courtyard,” they said. Saturday is going to be quiet; the academic departments requested that no events be scheduled because of senior capstones and other academic events.”

The Phoenix attempted to reach out to Office of Student Engagement staff for comment on the changes to the weekend’s events and lineup, but Coordinator of Student Activities and Leadership Carl Starkey only commented on the time frame for events on Friday and Sunday and did not offer any information about contract negotiations.

Worthstock traditions decimated, students say

in Around Campus/Breaking News/News by
This meme was sent via campus mail from Dean Liliana Rodriguez
This meme was sent via campus mail from Dean Liliana Rodriguez.

After months of planning and preparation by the Office of Student Engagement and the LSE Committee, this year’s “Worthstock Weekend,” which traditionally spans the first weekend in May, is slated to have multiple live music events, as well as other outdoor activities. This year’s incarnation of the event is also the first to be held under the guidelines of the new drug and alcohol policy, which is creating tensions between the student body and the administration.

This year’s Worthstock Weekend will be the first held since the prohibitions on drinking games, hard alcohol, and drug and alcohol paraphernalia from public party spaces. In an email sent midday Wednesday by Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Development Liliana Rodriguez, the details of how the new drug and alcohol policy will affect the coming weekend’s schedule of events were laid out. All guests to Worthstock Weekend will be required to present a state ID and be accompanied by a Swarthmore student as their host. The email also restated that hard alcohol of any kind is prohibited, and that flasks would be confiscated if found. The most significant of the changes mentioned is the institution of a limit on how much alcohol can be brought into the space: individuals over the age of 21 are allowed to bring either a six-pack of 12oz. beer in aluminum cans or a 750ml bottle of wine for the entirety of the event, and those bringing alcohol into the event must check-in at a separate line from the rest of the student body. The email also prohibited bringing tables or furniture of any kind into Worth Courtyard, which has been permissible at, and arguably a staple of, the scene in past years.

When the email was sent out to the student body, students immediately took to social media platforms such as Yik Yak and Facebook to express their dismay and disappointment at the changes to Worthstock Weekend. Several Facebook events, the most prominent being “Mertzstock,” have been organized for Sunday as alternatives to Worthstock. It appears that the intention of these events is to provide party spaces more similar to Worthstocks of the past, where drinking games and other paraphernalia were permitted.

It remains unclear if these student-run party spaces will be subject to the same regulations under which Worthstock is currently expected to operate.

Noah Weinthal ’15 believes that the changes to the policies governing Worthstock are a way, in part, to combat the amount of trash and debris left over during last year’s event that caused significant delays to many college administrators and grounds staff’s schedules. In a Facebook post, he recalled watching intoxicated students walking through Worth courtyard after the day’s events had concluded, passing by college staff cleaning up broken glass and other waste that had been left behind earlier in the day by students.

Despite the divisive nature of the new drug and alcohol policy and its effects on the weekend, there are a wide variety of events and activities scheduled to take place. This year’s program of events will kick off on Friday evening with an array of local food trucks at Parrish Circle, followed by a campus-wide laser tag battle on Mertz Field. Friday night will conclude with a live performance by New York-based trap artist TWRK, known for their collaboration with artists like Diplo and others on the Mad Decent record label.  On Sunday, another round of food trucks will be at both Benjamin West Parking and Parrish Circle, and other activities including a rock wall, zip line, and water slide will take place on Mertz field. The weekend’s events will culminate on Sunday with seven hours of music in Worth Courtyard by BADBADNOTGOOD, Ghostface Killah, The People’s Republic of Funk (the winner of the OSE’s Battle of the Bands competition), and other artists.

One of the biggest tasks assigned to the LSE committee is selecting the artists that will perform throughout the schedule of the weekend’s events. Atousa Nourmahnad ’17, a committee member, noted that the staging and audio capabilities available at the college ruled out the possibility of bringing larger groups to campus, and limited the selections to electronic artists, DJs, or other single-person acts.

Samira Saunders ’18 expressed appreciation for the collaborative and generally stress-free nature of the committee and the process of choosing artists to perform during Worthstock Weekend .

“[It was] really a collaborative process and it went really smoothly,” she said.

The goal of Worthstock Weekend remains the same as its previous incarnations. It is meant to be a weekend where students can relax and unwind before final exams begin. But members of the planning process and the student body at large anticipate this year to be slightly different. Nourmahnad noted that because the committee was much more organized than committees of previous years, they were able to be more creative with the sorts of events and activities they wanted to bring to campus this year. Instead of just inviting performing artists to campus, the increased creativity of the committee led them to hold more activity-based events, like the water slide and rock climbing wall.

Noah Rosenberg ’17 felt that last year’s Worthstock Weekend fell victim to logistical problems, such as the choice to hold the White Panda’s show in Science Center Courtyard. This choice of venue made the crowd appear smaller than it actually was because the space was so large, and dampened the overall atmosphere of the event. Despite this, Rosenberg has high hopes for this year’s events.

“This year, I think it’ll be much better because Upper Tarble is a better location [for the large scale events]. I’m still not sold on Swat students loving trap music or EDM, at least not enough of the campus to make it a large event, but I think it’ll be much better,” he said in an email.


College plans security changes to LSE and Worthstock

in Around Campus/News by

This weekend, two of the college’s largest annual events, the Large Scale Event and Worthstock, will take place.

The two events have aroused speculation about potential changes to each event, including to alcohol policies. “Based on the size, scope and venue for the LSE, in consultation with student activities, the Dean’s Office and other college staff, we decided to hire additional event staff,” Director of Public Safety Mike Hill said. “This decision was largely based on the fact that this is an outdoor venue, which requires extra planning and security to ensure the event is safe for our community members..”

Hill, however, refused to say who the college would be hiring.

Mike Elias, the students activities coordinator, stressed that the college was trying to promote a safe space.

“The LSE is a community event and it is important that the committee considers the impact of the event on all of our campus constituents,” he said. “To help create a safe environment, we are also providing event fencing, hiring an EMS to be stationed on-campus, having adequate amounts of lighting on Sci Quad, walks provided by SwatTeam, having water available for guests, etc.”

Elias also declined to say who the college is bringing in to help staff the weekend events.

But Emma Sipperly ’14 wondered if using a security company will help achieve this safety.

“I think it makes sense, because it is such a busy weekend, but I wonder if this security company has the same idea of safe space as our student body does and how they will help provide it,” she said. “I think everyone’s main priority is keeping our party integrity at LSE. Hopefully the private company, who is not familiar with the campus or the student body, will encourage safe partying and not hinder it.”

Aziz Anderson ’17, one of the four students on the LSE committee, said the committee did not have any input on the decision to hire extra security. It is, however, involved in security decisions regarding Worthstock.

Christopher Fortunato ’14, another committee member, mentioned that Hill is concerned about underage drinking at Worthstock, an event that has allowed public drinking in past years.

“At a recent meeting between Mike Hill and the LSE committee, Mike Hill expressed concerns about underage drinking at Worthstock and the liability that entails,” he said. “The committee is interested in finding a solution that keeps both the students and the college happy. LSE, on the other hand, has usually been, and will continue to be, a dry event.

Fortunato said he did not yet know what stance Public Safety would be taking. Hill and Elias declined to comment on the topic.

Some students do not think this potential regulation will affect the amount of students’ drinking.

“I have heard some people mention that they plan to spend more time at Margaritaville or drink inside of Worth and Willets where their friends live, because they do not want to deal with the repercussions of drinking in Worth Courtyard,” Tally Erickson ’15 said. “I don’t think the policy will have that much of an effect on whether or not people will drink, but it will affect how they go about it. Overall, I think students who are aware of the Worthstock drinking policy changes are disappointed, because it alters the nature of an event many students cherish, especially as an end-of-the-year celebration.”

Erickson also discussed the lack of communication between the college and the students about this weekend.

“I think the overarching concern students have as it pertains to the upcoming weekend is how hiring an outside security company and implementing these changes will impact students who are unaware of the rules or do not follow them,” she said. “Many students have heard about the possibility of these changes, but have not heard anything official from the college, leaving students to wonder how strict these policies will be and what kind of punishments might be imposed if a student drinks publicly outside of Worth or gets in trouble at LSE.”

Either way, Worthstock will still have its traditional variety of musical acts.

This year’s Worthstock lineup will be as follows: Dirty Mike and the Boys, the Battle of the Bands winner and student opener; Grumby, a “chill electronica” duo from NYC; Boxed Wine, self-described as an “indie party pop band from New Jersey;” Cruiser, “chill rock” from Philadelphia; Brown Rice Family, a band that previously played at Swarthmore before and was interested in returning. Madmen, a local band from Carlisle, PA may also play.

Yuichi Iida, the drummer of Brown Rice Family, said he hopes students participate in the show by dancing and singing along. The band is multi-national, with members from Japan, Jamaica, Haiti, Nigeria, South Africa and the USA and focuses on global solidarity and organic happiness.

“We will bring our stylish earth-friendly clothing, handmade organic soap and CD,” Iida said. “Don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes.”

Boxed Wine vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chris Nova agreed that he hopes students will be willing to dance along.

“Swarthmore can expect some catchy songs to be played by a band who’ll be exhausted waking up so early that morning to get there in time, but who are likely to give as much as they get from the audience,” he said.

Tyler Zon ’16, a member of Dirty Mike and the Boys, said playing at Worthstock has been a long-term goal for the band. He expressed that the band wishes more student performers had the chance to play at the event.

“Worthstock is more of a Swarthmore thing, so we think more bands from Swat should be involved,” he said. “We were all at Worthstock last year, so we know it’s about celebrating the end of the year and having a good time.”

Fortunato expressed excitement about the lineup, as well as about the amount of money spent on the event.

“I’m pleased with how much production we’re keeping in-house,” Fortunato said. “This year, we’re on track to save thousands of dollars by making use of Swaudio and Tarble Tech.”

He did not know what this saved money will be used for, however.

DJ duo White Panda to perform at LSE

in Around Campus/News by
The White Panda, the DJ duo who will headline LSE.
The White Panda, the DJ duo who will headline LSE.

This spring, the college will host its first ever Swatapalooza: a weekend of festivities beginning with the Large Scale Event (LSE) on the night of Friday, May 2 and ending with Worthstock on Sunday, May 4. The LSE, which will take place outdoors in the Science Center Quad, will feature a performance by the DJ duo The White Panda, while Worthstock will occur as an all-day event in Worth Courtyard.

“We wanted to provide a better experience for the student body,” said Aziz Anderson ‘17, a member of the LSE committee, which plans both Worthstock and LSE. “When Worthstock and LSE are on separate weekends, the campus just gets this burst of energy that doesn’t last very long. When the whole weekend is dedicated to big events, though, it amplifies the worth of both events.”

Combining the events into one weekend was also somewhat necessitated by the college’s busy spring calendar, which is dominated by the Swarthmore College Spring Arts Celebration (SCSAC). As a part of the college’s sesquicentennial festivities, SCSAC was extended from its normal length of a weekend to last throughout the month of April. This year, it involves a number of Saturday events, including a Rhythm n’ Motion performance, the Spring Dance Concert, and various recitals in the Lang Performing Arts Center. The LSE committee worried that scheduling the LSE on any of these nights would significantly reduce student attendance.

“By the time the LSE committee came together once the semester started, it seemed like March and May were the only times that worked,” said Mike Elias, student activities coordinator for the college. “When we tried to secure a date, however, March didn’t work with White Panda’s schedule.”

Worthstock, which historically takes place the weekend before reading week, was already scheduled for the weekend of Saturday May 3. Combining both events into this weekend seemed to be the best option across the board for the LSE committee.

“It’s also more efficient to make both events part of one whole weekend in terms of resources,” said Anderson. “There are a lot of things for both events that overlap. If you’re going to buy port-a-potties, stages, sound systems, and food and water for Worthstock and LSE, why not buy them once to use for both events?”

The resource demands for both events are so similar because, for the first time in four years, both Worthstock and LSE will take place outside. After receiving repeated criticism from the student body about the poor sound quality of last year’s LSE in the Lamb-Miller Field House, the LSE committee started exploring new venues, particularly the possibility of having the event outdoors.

“We weren’t sure whether or not the community would want that,” said Elias. “Initially, we talked about having LSE in the amphitheater, but that would ruin the grass for graduation. Finally it came down to Parrish Beach or the Science Center Quad, and we chose the quad because there are a lot more natural boundaries that make facilitating the event easier.”

This was a top priority for the LSE committee, which spends a majority of their time planning the provision of food, water, bathrooms, security, and medical personnel around the quad. According to Elias and members of the committee, this is where a majority of the event’s expenses come from.

“The overall budget for LSE is $60,000, but we’re only paying White Panda $15,000,” said Elias. “The rest of our budget goes to other costs to facilitate the event.”

“People don’t take into consideration the extra money for security, transportation, hotel fees, and backstage hospitality stuff,” said Ryan Greenlaw, who chaired the LSE committee last semester. “The small costs start to really add up and don’t allow you to pay talent.”

Despite budgetary constraints, however, the LSE committee was able to narrow their search down to three performances that they felt the student body would enjoy. When these options were presented in an online Moodle poll, they appeared so compelling that voter turnout within the first four hours of the poll’s operation exceeded that of StuCo’s most recent election.

Between the choices of Breathe Carolina, Joey Bada$$, and The White Panda, The White Panda was the clear winner, with Joey Bada$$ in second and Breathe Carolina in third. Greenlaw explained that instituting the entire voting procedure was an effort by the committee to better reflect the desires of the students.

“Whether or not they voted for White Panda, people can look at the performance and say, ‘This is who the students chose,’” Anderson agreed. “There is definitely a sense of empowerment in that.”

Still, some students were upset with The White Panda’s win.

“I would rather have a kid from Brooklyn come play at Swarthmore College than two engineering majors who don’t know anything about music,” said Louis Lainé ‘16, alluding to the different backgrounds of both artists. “I think Swarthmore is afraid of a different sound. The Moodle vote just gave Swatties the opportunity to choose a musical genre they are already familiar with.”

Lainé’s concerns were echoed by Anderson, who expressed concern that the voting system may not be the best way of choosing performers. While using a Moodle poll increases student involvement in the decision making process, Anderson explained that in his experience, the committee and the student body do not necessarily have the same intentions while choosing a performer.

“As a committee we are thinking about so many other factors than the average voter,” he said. “The average voter might make their decision for any reason — who their friends are voting for or what genre they want — without the interests of the whole campus in mind. The committee is thinking about things like ‘are they worth their cost? Are they a good sound for the community? How will they engage with the community?’”

Lainé also emphasized the importance of the artist truly being a sound for the entire community. He explained that he felt the performance should expose the audience to new ideas, sounds, and experiences to have a more meaningful impact on the community.

“I think its important for Swat to get some sort of new perspective in terms of the music played on campus,” he said. “That’s one of the main reasons Joey Bada$$ should have come. He’s refreshing. His lyrics actually mean something. People are just not familiar with that type of music.”

While the performance by The White Panda may feel like a return to the familiar for some, Swatapalooza represents a significant change to the operations of the college’s spring social calendar. As more details about the festivities of Swatapalooza come to the fore, Anderson urges students above all else to embrace the modifications being made.

“Swatapalooza will be a great event as long as students make it great,” said Anderson. “We’re still at Swat. We’re going to have a really good time.”

Large Scale Event Committee Books Solange Following Macklemore Cancellation

in Around Campus/Breaking News/News by

The Large Scale Event and Worthstock are two of the most anticipated events of the spring semester. In December of last year, Brennan Klein ’14, LSE Committee Chair, wrote an open letter to students through The Phoenix in which he announced that Macklemore would be the headliner at this year’s LSE. There was also talk of a “Welcome Back Show” on Jan. 26, 2013. As Swatties may have noticed, the show failed to materialize, and much else has gone awry since the letter was published.

Nearly two months after Macklemore’s performance was announced, Paury Flowers, coordinator of student activities, has confirmed that “Macklemore is not on the final list for LSE.”

“We didn’t have a contract with Macklemore when I wrote the letter but we had sent him a ‘we’re about to send you a contract’ e-mail,” Klein said. “However someone else could pay more and Macklemore decided to go with that opportunity. When we first thought of Macklemore in May, he could be booked for $15,000 but since then it has gone up to about $50,000.”

After a mad scramble over winter break, the Committee has settled on Solange, also known as Beyonce’s sister, to replace Macklemore. Klein seemed excited at the prospect of having Solange perform. “This is the best opportunity we’ve had to actually book someone. It looks likely that we’ll be able to book her.” The contract that the college offered Solange was supposed to expire on Monday, but Solange has not responded as of Tuesday night. It remains unclear if Solange’s performance at LSE has been confirmed or not. Klein, though optimistic, had mentioned contractual concerns that Solange’s representatives had brought up about LSE. They do not want the performance to be advertised beyond Swarthmore College as it might negatively affect the value of her other Philadelphia performances.

Since Solange is not as well-known as Macklemore, Klein pointed out that she is relatively inexpensive, so booking her would allow the Committee to hire better-known openers within a range of $5,000 to $10,000. Since Macklemore is not coming, the student-selected acts that would have opened for Macklemore have also been cancelled. Over this weekend, the LSE Committee plans to repeat the process of student voting for opening acts that would better complement Solange’s type of music. They will set up a voting mechanism through Moodle, and Klein hopes to approach the selected acts by the following Monday.

The LSE Committee’s struggle to put together a successful event is not an unknown or unacknowledged issue at Swarthmore. It was with the hope of improving the process and providing more transparency that Klein wrote the open letter last semester. However, in hindsight, he considers his decision to be ill-timed, “I was probably naïve about letting people know. The plans seemed more resolute than they actually were,” he said. He added that the letter prompted students to e–mail the Committee with questions, which were all dutifully answered.

The problems with booking artists and timely planning are not limited to the large events like LSE and Worthstock. As last week demonstrated, a small “Welcome Back Show” with a budget of $200 to $500 had to be cancelled at the last minute. Speaking about the failure to execute the show, Klein said, “We were counting on an act from Worthstock last year to be our headliner but he stopped communicating with us. Another DJ from Philadelphia wasn’t available and so we were just left with two young girls from New York City who were eager to come but not known. We didn’t think it would be much of a show with just two girls so we cancelled on them.”

While talking about the apparent problems with the Committee and its current situation, Klein said, “ We weren’t on our game for certain things.” Though he admittedly feels jaded about this process, he thinks the lack of budget for a school this size poses a constraint on the artists we can hire. “This isn’t for want of trying. Other schools of this size can get big acts. But creatively working within these guidelines and finding recognizable acts can be rewarding,” he said. Klein and Flowers also made the point that much of this process depends on the artists that they approach. Even starting as early as May cannot ensure a smooth planning process.

A former member of the LSE Committee, who wished to remain anonymous to avoid offending members of the administration, wrote that the Committee is poorly organized and that much can be done to improve the functioning of the group. However, he noted that he has been uninvolved with the committee since quitting and circumstances may have changed since he left.

Discussing his time as a member of the Committee, he said, “I quickly became disillusioned with the committee, and the administration wasn’t doing great things either. They were just very disrespectful of people’s time. Meetings would be scheduled during class times, and the facilitator and administration people would arrive really late.” He thinks that the administration plays a role in the alleged inefficiency of the committee, specifically its disorganised nature and lack of support for students. He concluded by saying that several past members have expressed frustration with how the Committee is run.

Kyle Krainock ’13, who used to write a music blog for the Daily Gazette and has attended many concerts in Philadelphia during his time at Swarthmore, echoed the sentiment of exasperation, saying, “I know friends who have quit the committee because it was too frustrating.” Speaking as a person with eclectic taste in music, Krainock commented on past LSEs, “I’ve never been excited for LSE in my time here. At one point, maybe things were different, but during my time here, it has never worked out.” He drew attention to known bands that have performed at Swarthmore like Matt and Kim, Tokyo Police Club, The Roots, and Passion Pit, and expressed disappointment that acts of such quality have not been booked in the last four years. Speaking as an ordinary student, Krainock gets the impression that the role of the administration ought to be reduced. He said, “The Committee is capable of booking acts without being overseen by the administration. Let the LSE Committee call all the shots.” He also recommended adopting Bryn Mawr’s system of hosting such events, which involves organising three to four big concerts over the course of a semester.

For the moment, however, these calls for structural changes to the committee are not being considered as it continues its effort to confirm Solange’s performance for the LSE. They are dealing with Solange’s vacillating agents by hosting another meeting on Tuesday night to select another artist from their shortlist that they can pursue.

Go to Top