The disappearance of university concerts

Makenna Flores, Managing Editor

As popular artists continue to perform at local colleges, the question of why BGSU stopped remains. 

BGSU hosted popular acts of the respective time periods starting in 1958, when the Tommy Dorsey Band performed for their homecoming dance and the Glenn Miller Orchestra Band performed a month later. 

Between the years of 1967 and 1972, BGSU had “What a Wonderful World” singer Louis Armstrong, Jethro Tull and Chuck Berry.

In 1987, BGSU’s University Activities Organization (UAO) stepped up to the plate to host these performances with INXS attracting 4,100 people to the university. 

Starting in 2000, UAO consistently held musical performances for homecoming and special concerts sponsored by the group. They also held “UAO LOL,” where they booked comedians like Bo Burnham in 2013. Funds from these concerts went back to UAO.

Notably, popular boy band brother Nick Jonas visited the Stroh Center in 2015 to perform for students. 

The last in-person concerts were in 2017, when Kesha performed for a charity event at the Stroh Center and Juicy J later in the year for the first and only Falcon Music Fest. 

In 2021, UAO hosted a virtual Bryce Vine concert, where students could watch it live in the Ballroom of the BTSU and ask questions via stream for Falcon Fest. This concert was the last UAO hosted. 

Popular rap artist Yung Gravy has come to multiple colleges in the past year, including Kent State. Soon, the University of Findlay will be hosting the rapper. However, these colleges’ UAOs were not the ones in charge, rather, their student governments made the concerts happen. 

When asked if BGSU’s Undergraduate Student Government would potentially look to make something similar happen, President Zachary Noesen said, “If we were to partner with UAO and other groups, then I think USG would be thrilled to put concerts together in the future.”

Noesen noted the reason USG wouldn’t host a concert by itself is primarily due to funding reasons, but also “out of respect for other groups and their purposes on campus as well.” 

Alexis Lange, the Coordinator of Campus Activities said there were two big reasons for the concerts to stop – costs and the pandemic. 

Overall, the cost of concerts has increased exponentially over time in addition to the pandemic causing struggles for safe large scale concerts. Falcons After Dark did host a smaller scale concert last Fall to gauge interest and did not have a large turnout,” said Lange. 

Olivia Deverna, inclusive early childhood education major, said she would definitely go to a concert at BGSU if she knew the performing act, even if she had to pay to attend. 

“I think a lot of people would be more drawn to coming to a university that had more engagement and activities. I think participating in activities is something a lot of students don’t normally do,” she said. 

Lange said UAO will keep the interest of concerts in mind for future planning.