Root for big names
February 7, 2011
Say what you will about the College of William and Mary, but this year’s Charter Day festivities proved that, even at 318, we still know how to get down. Hip-hop group The Roots successfully headlined the undisputed highlight of the celebration, first ever Charter Day concert, held at William and Mary Hall. The show went off without a hitch, drawing one of the larger crowds of any AMP-hosted concert, not to mention one with a great atmosphere. Much of that tone can be credited to the spirited, adrenaline-packed performance by the Roots themselves — band members Sousaphone and ?uestlove each took a mid-song detour through the crowd — but we also have the sneaking suspicion that the larger venue helped a little too.
The performance marked one of the few times in recent years the Hall has seen a musical act; of late, the College’s go-to site for AMP-hosted concerts has been the amphitheater at Lake Matoaka. While that recently renovated site provides a great (if weather-dependent) environment for many campus events, a larger event, centered around a big name band like The Roots was certainly a welcome change of pace, and something we’d like to see more of at the College. If our students are willing to drive to Norfolk or Richmond to see better acts, then higher class acts will surely draw audience members from those areas to Williamsburg.
There are obviously certain restrictions that prevent the College from hosting the sort of sprawling concerts one might find at, say, George Mason University or other large, urban universities — some of which are institutional. AMP remains committed to its goal of keeping student ticket prices below $10. This is an admirable goal, which keeps campus events from being cost-prohibitive, while retaining some ability to recoup losses. That being said, it’s hard to treat this guideline as a strict mandate; if students are willing to pay more to see a larger act, AMP would be mistaken not to support them.
But, in general, it would be against the interest of AMP and the student body as a whole for student money to finance events much larger than that seen this past Saturday, simply due to the chance that the event wouldn’t make enough money back in ticket sales. Not to mention — if we even need to say it — we just don’t have the money to spend in the first place.
Given these limitations, we urge the College to explore the possibility of outsourcing events at the Hall to an outside promoter. The arena is suited to a variety of uses, and a regular stream of events in walking distance would certainly be a boon to campus life on the whole. Now, we harbor no illusions that such a scheme would be immediately, if ever, successful, but College officials would be remiss not to consider it after this weekend’s success. The Roots show was a blast. There’s no reason not to try for an encore.