Following the well-trodden path of Wiz Khalifa and Gavin DeGraw, rapper Ludacris will perform for the College of William and Mary’s Charter Day Concert. While a big name artist, Ludacris was by no means the Charter Day Concert Committee’s first choice of performer. The committee, led by members of Alma Mater Productions and the Student Assembly, searched for a hip-hop or rock artist to break the College’s recent rapper streak, but found it almost impossible to book an artist for Charter Day. This is due in part to the fact that the Grammy Awards are the following day. Given the circumstances, the committee did well, but in the future it should reconsider the worth of having a Charter Day concert when few artists are available.
The Charter Day Concert began only five years ago and is by no means a College tradition. However, students have enjoyed the concerts in the past, regardless of the performer. The real question, then, is what do students want more: Would they prefer a Charter Day concert with a lesser-known artist or would they want to book someone more popular for a later date?
If the annual concert tradition continues, it may very well come to imbue Charter Day with even more significance. Students would simply have to settle for smaller pools of potential artists in years with major award conflicts.
If the Charter Day concert tradition ends, AMP and the SA will have greater flexibility both in whom they can book and when concerts can be held. Hosting more influential artists might, in turn, help the College attract bigger names. A potential downside of this decision would be the loss of the advantage that Charter Day provides as a celebratory event.
Either way, AMP and the SA should leave the decision to students, who ultimately fund the event. This would require informing students about their choices and providing forums for making suggestions. The SA could release a survey to the entire student body asking for student preferences and allowing it to comment further.
Alternatively, the question could be included on the SA election ballot. It would encourage students to give their opinions, and possibly convince more people to vote in SA elections. The decision would not please everyone, but it would better represent what students want.
Whether AMP and the SA move the Charter Day concert in the future, many students will likely attend and enjoy themselves. Nevertheless, they ought to include the student body in that decision. Until then, we leave students in Luda’s capable hands.