By Hannah Jaenicke
There have long been tensions between Students’ Council and the Fords United Concert Series (FUCS), which books Haverford’s concerts and receives funding from SC.
For some time now, FUCS has been hearing warnings that SC wants to run its appointments for choosing new members, as it did up until several years ago, said Chris Esposito ’10, one of FUCS’s five members. SC Co-Presidents Will Harrison ’10 and Harrison Haas ’10 confirmed this.
Last week the tensions boiled over, and it seems that they may finally be soothed.
SC’s Executive Committee held a meeting about funding on Wednedsay, and four of FUCS’s five members were on the edge of their seats (Sam Kaplan ’10 was the one missing member). The meeting was presented as addressing the funding of all groups, but ultimately, it focused on FUCS.
"What I gather from this meeting is, it’s Will Harrison telling us, ‘Why shouldn’t we take you over?’" Esposito said beforehand. "I mean honestly, this is just stupid. They don’t know anything about FUCS. They don’t know what it takes to book shows."
Esposito was frustrated initially, but he left the meeting pleased.
SC brought forth questions, FUCS addressed misperceptions and cleared up issues that had never been explained, and SC will most likely allow FUCS to keep running its own appointments. Vice Presidents Franklyn Cantor ’12 and Dylan Lazovik ’12 will sit in on FUCS’s appointments meetings this week, and if all goes well, FUCS can continue as it has.
Will Harrison said that the concern arose because “groups that receive a big chunk of money from the student body should be expected to reach out to students.”
He and Haas said that the meeting was not related to Sam Kaplan’s Go! Board posts a week and a half ago, in which Kaplan posted emails the Quaker Bouncers had sent confronting him. This meeting, rather, was a conversation that had been in the works for some time. Wider issues relating to the conduct of FUCS, student government, and the wider student body needed to be discussed.
They addressed concerns that concert-goers from outside the tri-co were being charged to enter Lunt, that large numbers of high school students were attending shows, and that bands brought to Haverford were representative of only one or two musical genres.
FUCS members refuted these claims, explaining that nobody is currently charged entry to Lunt shows, that they know of only two high school students who attend regularly whom they personally invite, and that they try to book bands that students will like.
They said that the group is not cliquish, and that they have diverse musical tastes but that limited finances constrain the types of acts they can book. Esposito explained that while up-and-coming indie bands tend to be cheap to hire and happy to play at Haverford, rappers and better-known bands often demand large fees and then do not perform to expectations. He used Wale’s thirty-minute set at the 2007 Haverfest as an example of such behaviour.
Esposito added that many bands that play at Haverford have been recommended by fellow students, including Starfucker, recommended by Ellen Freeman ’11, and Twin Sister, recommended by Jane Holloway ’11.
He said that “a lot of people are misinformed about the ways FUCS works,” and that FUCS members are “working on ways to include more people,” by holding open meetings in the spring about the bands for Haverfest and for the following semester. Already, they are holding an open meeting on Tuesday.
Other suggestions for better communication between students and FUCS were to have a thread on the Go! Boards and to conduct a survey so students could suggest bands and music genres that they would like to see in Lunt.
In order to be able to afford a more diverse range of bands, FUCS members said that their budget would have to be increased. One possibility that was raised by members of the Executive was that, instead of holding gigs in Lunt every few weeks, there could be two or three shows a semester, which would allow more money to be spent per band, potentially attracting bigger names. However, Esposito explained that cost is not a reliable indicator of quality, and that often the only difference between a cheaper and more expensive band is that the more expensive one has existed for longer.
Expensive rider requests by visiting bands currently leave FUCS members using their own money to buy food and drink for visiting artists. Harrison and SC Co-Treasurer Edin Fako ’11 said that they would be willing to look into reviewing FUCS’ budget in light of this new information, and Harrison said that “we don’t want them to be out of pocket.”
In an email Esposito said that he felt that “the meeting with SC went very well. I don’t think Students’ Council is going to do any kind of FUCS takeover. We are going to work to better our relationship with the community by doing more outreach and being as open as possible in order to ensure that everyone knows who we are and how we work."
Kaplan, too, said that he did not think that SC wanted to take over FUCS.
In the meantime, the group looks to its three younger members to carry out plans for the future: Jon Horn ’11, Ben Porten ’12, and Michelle Zauner BMC ’11, FUCS’s first member from Bryn Mawr.
Porten agreed with the general sentiment, and said that at the meeting, Dylan Lazovik seemed very supportive.
The group has two spaces available for new members. The closing deadline for applications is Thursday, December 10.
–With additional reporting by Robin Riskin.