2009 Penn State Festivals….suck. WHY!?

Penn State’s spring semester brings all sorts of musical events to the students and residents of State College. There are festivals, arena concerts, theater performances and bar acts to be enjoyed by all. I don’t really pay much attention to the concerts held at our Bryce Jordan Center (aka the BJ Center) because for the most part they are boring pop garbage acts — Akon, Rihanna, New Kids on the Block!?!?!? and the like. I also am not a very artsy, theater type so classical/orchestral performances don’t really tickle my fancy. And bar acts are usually cover bands around here so I take that for what it is, I guess. They’re usually fun after about 12 beers or a couple monkeyballs — a gigantic pitcher of liquor sold at some bars here for like…5 bucks. Quantity, not quality, my friends. 🙂

Anyway, each year I look forward to finding out what acts our main music festivals have to offer. Festivals are awesome, mainly because their free to students, but also because they provide an atmosphere that I am very attracted to.

The two main festivals here at Penn State are Movin’ On and Wallypalooza. Wallypalooza is new this year (it will take place on Thursday, 4/23/09).

Ok, now prepare yourself for some ranting.

Movin’ On (around since 1974) has boasted some great acts in the past, including Gym Class Heroes, Jewel, Bowling for Soup, Talib Kweli, Reel Big Fish, Ben Folds Five, Run-DMC, Wilco and Sonic Youth. Sounds pretty legit, right? Now here are some of the more recent acts (2006-09) — The Spill Canvas, Phantom Planet (The O.C. theme songwriters), Say Anything, Authority Zero……..WHAT HAPPENED! Why has this festival transformed into a power-pop orgy?

First of all, these bands are well past their prime because the popularity of emo/pop-rock music has been declining in the past few years. Lets face it, its the end of the decade and the genre is getting boring. It is proven by the huge decline in attendance at Movin’ On over the last few years. The concert is FREE. FREE!!! And people still don’t want to come out….the “large acts” over the past few years were only able to draw 50-200 of Penn State’s 60k+ faculty and students….how sad is that?

Me and my roommate had actually planned on volunteering to help run the backstage operations at Movin’ On this year, but once the lineup was released to us we immediately changed our minds. I didn’t even go to the festival as a spectator, even though it was one of the few instances that there was actually nice weather! The lineup was such a turn off for me and my roommate. I had walked past the HUB Lawn a few times that day to check it out, and the music blaring was very disappointing. I went and played some backyard football instead.

Wallypalooza, a new festival being held for the first time ever (4/23) doesn’t show much promise either. There is going to be DJ Super Nova there…yes, a DJ at a college music festival. WHAT?! It’s not a fucking nightclub or spring break resort you morons!! Oh, and in case you still care by this point, their headline act: ASHER ROTH.

Asher Roth

Up until two days ago when his album dropped, the public had heard one song from this guy. ONE SONG! “I Love College.” This song teaches absolutely nothing that can’t be learned in the first 30 seconds of a keg party. I mean come on! He is the quintessential opposite of the kind of performer that should be headlining a college festival. Shallow, mindless drivel that is unable to provoke any sort of coherent thought or emotion. The only think a song like this can spark in an individual is the desire to try a kegstand. Just hang out with some drunken frat brothers for twenty minutes and you’ll have the same desires.

Penn State has injected nearly $130,000 dollars into both Movin’ On & Wallypalooza this year. 10k alone was given to Asher Roth just to get him to come play at Wallypalooza. This money, combined with the reputations of Movin’ On’s past acts had the potential to attract some great talent to both festivals this year. It was so disappointing to see this happen.

In my opinion, colleges & student organizations should always be focused on creating learning experiences for its students. Now granted that student organizations put these festivals together, universities have Boards of Trustees that approve these clubs to be affiliated with the university in the first place. So the university clearly sees some educational & experiential value these clubs can bring to the student body. But what is there to learn, experience or develop from these shallow, inartistic power pop bands? I mean, they may very well provide some great entertainment, but there are plenty of acts out there that can entertain and provide a developmental/artistic experience as well.

I hope someone will step up in the future and put together some great festivals for next year because I would really love to see some genuinely talented musical acts visit Happy Valley before I graduate. Can somebody just do me a solid here?

We’ll see.

_chris

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