Students react to Butlerpalooza’s cancellation

Parachute performing at Butlerpalooza in 2015. Collegian file photo. 

CALVIN PRENKERT | STAFF REPORTER | cprenker@butler.edu

Not everyone can say that Jesse McCartney has personally serenaded them on their birthday, but Lauren Boswell can.

Boswell, a senior elementary education major, attended Butler’s Exam Jam last semester, which happened to fall on the same day as her 21st birthday.

“We were right in front of the audience, so when Jesse asked the crowd if anyone wanted to come on stage, all my friends gestured and pointed to me,” Boswell said. “He serenaded me on stage and my 10-year-old self’s dreams came true. It was definitely the coolest birthday surprise I had ever received.”

Butler’s Student Government Association puts on two yearly events where a popular musician gives a concert for students on campus: Exam Jam, held in the spring, and Butlerpalooza, which is traditionally held in the fall.

On Oct. 18., the Butler SGA Twitter account posted a photo announcing that Butlerpalooza would not be held during the 2019-20 school year.

The tweet stated: “Butlerpalooza is a wonderful tradition here at Butler. Unfortunately, our scheduled artist for this year is unable to perform due to illness.”

To try and combat disappointment due to the cancellation of Butlerpalooza, the post also informed students that SGA would be making a concerted effort to give Butler students free tickets to popular concerts in the Indianapolis area.

Elizabeth Wang, a senior health sciences major and SGA programming director, said students could potentially attend concerts by artists like Luke Combs, Alessia Cara and Lizzo.

Wang said her plan even before the Butlerpalooza cancellation was to provide more opportunities for students to attend off campus concerts at no cost.

“When I stepped into this role I wanted to reevaluate concerts,” Wang said. “Something we hadn’t done in the past is bringing students to concerts around Indy. It’s such a good opportunity to have people go and see artists that we wouldn’t be able to get at Exam Jam and Butlerpalooza, so we’ve shifted to taking students off campus for concerts.”

For Boswell, the cancellation was unexpected.

“I was surprised to hear that Butlerpalooza was cancelled,” Boswell said. “I wondered if they could have found a different performer, but I think Butler did everything they could with the circumstances at hand.”

Henry Johnston, a junior digital media production and Spanish double major, felt the performer made the right decision given the circumstances.

“Coming from an arts background, I respect artists saying they need to not participate in this for my own health,” Johnston said. “I think that is totally the right thing to do. SGA is doing this as a nice thing for us so I’m cool if it doesn’t work out, but I’m glad they are doing it in general.”

Johnston enjoyed attending Butlerpalooza the last two years.

“It was really fun,” Johnston said. “You can just go to Clowes, and it’s like $10 for a show that you would spend hundreds of dollars to go to.”

For those who haven’t attended Butlerpalooza or Exam Jam before, like Jules Walther, a first year finance major, it was something that they had heard about and looked forward to.

“They told me about it when I was here through the admissions office as one of the events they did on campus,” Walther said. “I heard about it being cancelled, but I didn’t hear about it until this week.”

While SGA’s plan to give free tickets to concerts around local Indianapolis does provide a solution to the cancellation of Butlerpalooza, Walther is hopeful that SGA will continue to do on-campus concerts in addition to the new off campus Indianapolis concert opportunities.

“I think they should bring Butlerpalooza back next year,” Walther said. “People will be willing to pay and with other concerts that I’m getting free tickets for, it’s great, but I don’t get to say where we sit or, what time we leave and you know, some of the stuff that I just like being in control of with concert plans.”

Students shouldn’t worry though, as Wang said there are no plans to cancel Exam Jam this spring or Butlerpalooza next year. It was simply due to time constraints they were unable to find another performer for Butlerpalooza.

In the meantime, even for someone like Boswell, who had such a unique experience at SGA on-campus concerts, the idea of getting to see incredible performers for free is exciting.

“It is awesome that they are giving away free concert tickets instead, especially for incredible performers like Lizzo,” Boswell said. “I think that is an amazing opportunity students should totally take advantage of.”

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