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Springfest concert moved to Burr Gymnasium for cost reasons, UGSA director says

Students expressed mixed opinions regarding the relocation of the Springfest concert, citing concerns about accessibility and disappointment over the change in venue.

Howard University students stand in the crowd during the 2022 Yardfest concert. (Demetrick Conyers/The Hilltop) 

The annual lineup of events was published on the Howard UGSA Instagram account last week. Following the reveal that the annual Springfest concert would be held indoors in Burr Gymnasium instead of outside in Greene Stadium like last year’s concert, students took to commenting on their grievances. 

Ka’Nedria Boldin, a senior political science major and legal communications minor from Palm Beach, Florida, was one of more than 25 people, many of whom are students, who commented under the original post. Her comment received more than 650 likes.

“Why have events that the entire student population can’t attend?!” Boldin wrote. “It’s insane to have it in Burr Gymnasium, knowing everyone won’t be able to get in.”

Although Boldin appreciates the work that the UGSA has put into this year’s events, she said in an interview that she does not like the location of the concert, as she described it to be exclusive. 

“When we pay a student activity fee, we shouldn’t even have to be buying extra tickets,” Boldin said. “It should have been open to the general public, especially if the stadium wasn’t even filled.”  

Oseghale Esene, a junior marketing and computer information systems major from Prince George’s County, Maryland is the executive director of UGSA. He said his team started planning this year’s Springfest last summer. Esene said that the assembly initially planned to hold the concert at Greene Stadium, but had to change their plans because of budget constraints. 

The concert will be held in the gym at 3 p.m. this Friday, April 19, and the artist scheduled to perform has yet to be announced by UGSA.

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“Because of the tier of the artist, pricing for security went up,” he said. “Also due to economic inflation, production costs increased and the pricing for covering the turf of the field increased,” Esene said. 

Esene said that the costs for the concert became so elevated that they were told to either cut the artist or move the concert into Cramton Auditorium or Burr.

Another option, Esene said, was to hold the concert on The Yard. However, due to safety concerns from the university, The Yard was no longer a possibility.

“On the behalf of UGSA Leadership, I just want to apologize to the student body and say I am deeply sorry that the concert had to be moved indoors. Just understand that we weren’t happy about this decision either,” Esene said. “But we were put in a position where it was either not having the concert at all, or move it indoors.”

In past years, Springfest tickets had been released at the ticket office in Cramton Auditorium, prompting students to line up as early as 9 a.m. waiting in line to receive their ticket. 

Tickets will be accessible online, which is a change from previous years, Esene said. There will be four different drops on Monday, April 15, the first starting from 9 a.m. to – 12 p.m. Students may reserve their ticket through the Posh link in @howardugsa‘s bio on Instagram. 

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Once they secure a virtual ticket, students will receive an email detailing when and where they may pick up their physical ticket. This change was made to accommodate students unable to wait for tickets due to other obligations, Esene said. 

Moriah Morrow, a sophomore political science and African-American studies double major from St. Louis, Missouri, was surprised to hear the concert would be held in the gymnasium since last spring the concert was held in the stadium. “Greene had a lot of space, everybody kind of had the opportunity to see the concert,” she said. 

In 2022, the concert was held in Cramton Auditorium. According to the official website for Howard University athletics and their facilities, Greene Stadium can accommodate 10,000 seats while Burr can sit 2,700. However, last year, the crowd stood on the stadium turf instead of occupying seats. Cramton offers 1,500 seats. 

“I saw some videos from last year so I thought it would be on the Yard or on Greene,” Kamren Harrell, a freshman Biology major said. 

“I’m assuming it was for cost reasons because we did get asked if we wanted to raise the activity fee,” Harrell added. 

Funding for Springfest comes partially from the student activity fee, Esene said, which is divided amongst UGSA and other organizations on campus. The majority of funding comes from sponsorships from companies such as the Jordan brand, which is sponsoring Wednesday’s Truth and Service basketball game. 

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“We want the best for all students and we fight very hard throughout the year to ensure that. And we fought a lot to even make this concert still happen,” Esene said. “So although it may not be 100 percent ideal, I still want everybody to have a great time during the week and just try to think positively about it.” 

Copy edited by D’ara Campbell

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