A Letter from the LSE Committee Chair

Fellow Swatties,

Though there is something masochistically thrilling about partying so hard that the floor of Upper Tarble caves in, it’s not something we as a community should do again, ever. Let me be the umpteenth person to say that last year’s Large Scale Event was a logistical nightmare, ultimately ending in 300 Swatties doing a muted, gnomish, waddle dance while Childish Gambino performed “Bonfire.”

Let’s backtrack. Early last year, the campus voted on three artists to headline the 2011/2012 LSE: J. Cole, Janelle Monáe, and Childish Gambino. The act that received the most votes was, unsurprisingly, Janelle Monáe. Surprisingly, her management turned out to be unwilling to cooperate with us, and booking conversations ended. We then turned to Childish Gambino. He was only free in late April, when all other spaces on campus were occupied (notably, LPAC was occupied by the Student Dance Concert—apologies to those of you who missed the show because of that date conflict), so the committee turned to Upper Tarble. In theory, this was an untapped concert venue that could solve our lack-of-party-space problem. In practice, it was too small, too fragile, too small, and too goddamn fragile.

That brings us to the summer (skipping over, of course, a thoroughly successful Worthstock). Working with the administration, we spent from about June to August mulling over ideas about how to fix LSE for the future. For a while, we had aggressively pursued renting out the Theater of Living Arts in Philadelphia for the show. Though not for a lack of trying, this idea fell through because Swatties obviously have no clue how to act like adults in cities, no sense of time to make it back to the busses by the end of the night, and no idea what the buddy system is. Next idea: LPAC? No, still too many chairs, too little dancing. Amphitheater? No way, this school is an ancient floral museum that will wilt at the slightest detection of fun. Plus, there’s never any time during the year where hundreds of people gather in the Amphitheater at once …

We stand now in a difficult spot. In September, we had a shortlist of three acts that we were confident the student body would appreciate voting on: Fun., Frank Ocean, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. The problem is that all of those artists were bookable in September, but as the music gods would have it, they’ve all gotten more famous and thus more expensive. Only one of the original three artists remains bookable.

I’ll put it bluntly. Instead of voting on a headliner this year, the student body will vote on a larger-than-usual opener. We are strongly considering booking Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for this year’s LSE, and booking conversations have begun. This would leave us with about $6,000 dollars to spend on an opener (just to give you an idea, that much money could probably book acts in the ballpark of Freelance Whales, Mason Jennings, Ryan Cabrera (lol), DJ Earworm, Adventure Club, Alex Winston, Murs, The Knocks, just to name a few). Additionally, we want to especially consider acts that the students send us. Send your suggestions to swarthmorelse@gmail.com, as soon as possible. Be vocal with this — I’m sure you guys know some great underground, next-to-be-famous bands. Otherwise, I’m just going to book Sisqo as an opener.

At this point the date will be April 6, a Saturday. The concert will be in one of two places: the Amphitheater or the Fieldhouse. Obviously, we would all love to see an Amphitheater LSE, but we’ll have to go about this pragmatically. There’s a chance that the tech demands in the headliner artist’s contract simply won’t be possible in an outdoor space like the Amphitheater. There could be a nasty thunderstorm that could ruin equipment. We’re going to try to make it work, but know this now: it will be difficult. Should it not work out, a Fieldhouse LSE would be undeniably fun.

In the meantime, the LSE Committee is planning a Welcome Back Show on January 26, in cooperation with a few other student groups. This will be a relatively low-budget show that hopefully will offer musical diversity to the growing trend of hip-hop and electro artists that have been coming to campus. Expect more information from us soon, but our list of priorities at this point includes: How to not burn down the Amphitheater when partying in it, how to walk down Amphitheater stairs without breaking anyone’s ankles, how to not get drunkenly lost in the Crum. There seems to be a trend here.

On a more serious tone, the administration is being immeasurably generous by potentially letting us use its prized possession to hold our concert with 500 people in the audience. As a Community, I’m confident that we can and will respect that.

One final note: This article is part of our attempt at becoming a more transparent committee. A lot of complaints in the past dealt with people not knowing about what we are doing or more generally, what LSE Committee does. Let me spell this out briefly. We’ve got about $40,000 to spend on booking an act for LSE, assuming the lighting/sound/stage cost is about $20,000, which it will be. Usually, we plan to hold it in the fall, but as the booking process is a bureaucratic sludgefest of musical molasses, this often gets pushed back to the spring. There is one LSE a year — don’t believe anyone who tells you differently. The LSE Committee also puts on Worthstock in the Spring. Finally, plans, dates, and bookings all are subject to the whims of the artists we are pursuing. Although I hope to offer you a definite confirmation soon, I’ve been a part of LSE for too long to assume that things will go according to plan. For now, we optimistically wait.

Sincerely,
Brennan
LSE Committee Chair

P.S. I’ve also tried my hardest to poke fun at a lot of the processes involved in planning LSE. I do not mean to offend, misinform, or misrepresent anyone. Questions, comments, and suggestions should all be sent to swarthmorelse@gmail.com.

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