It’s 2009, and Penn State’s Music Festivals….Suck. WHY!?

emergenza festival scam

Penn State’s spring semester brings all sorts of musical events to the students and residents of State College. There are festivals, arena concerts, theater performances and bar acts to be enjoyed by all. I don’t really pay much attention to the concerts held at our Bryce Jordan Center (more accurately, the “bj center”) because, for the most part, they are boring, pop garbage acts – Akon, Rihanna, New Kids on the Block!?!?!? and the like.

Also, I’m not the artsy fartsy theater type, so classical/orchestral performances don’t really appeal to me that much either. And, bar acts are usually cover bands around here so I take that for what it is, I guess. They’re usually fun after about 12 beers or a couple “monkeyboys” (a large pitcher of mystery liquor sold at some bars here for five bucks). Quantity, not quality, my friends. :)

Anyways, each year I look forward to finding out what acts our several music festivals have to offer. Festivals are awesome, mainly because they’re free to students, but also because they provide an atmosphere that I am very attracted to.

The two main festivals here at Penn State are Movin’ On and Wallypalooza, the Penn State UPUA’s attempt at a music festival. Wallypalooza is new this year, and it will take place on Thursday, 4/23/09.

Ok, now prepare yourself for some ranting.

Movin’ On (around since 1974) has hosted some great acts in the past, including Gym Class Heroes, Jewel, Bowling for Soup, Talib Kweli, Reel Big Fish, Ben Folds Five, Run-DMC, Wilco and Sonic Youth. Sounds pretty legit, right? Now here are some of the more recent acts (2006-09) – The Spill Canvas, Phantom Planet (The O.C. theme songwriters), Say Anything, Authority Zero……..WHAT HAPPENED?! Why has this festival transformed into a bland, cookie-cutter, power-pop orgy? Warped Tour and Bamboozle already dominate that scene.

The bands selected this year are well past their prime, and the popularity of emo/pop rock music has been declining over the past few years. Lets face it – it’s the end of the decade, and the genre is getting boring. It is proven by the huge decline in attendance at Movin’ On over the last few years.

I think I should also point out that the concert is FREE. FREE!!! And people still don’t want to come out. The “large acts” over the past few years were only able to draw 50-200 of Penn State’s 60k+ faculty and students….how sad is that?

My roommate and I had actually planned on volunteering to help run the backstage operations at Movin’ On this year, but once the lineup was announced we immediately changed our minds. I didn’t even go to the festival as a spectator, even though it was one of the few instances when there was actually nice weather! The lineup was such a disappointment. I had walked past the HUB lawn a few times that day to listen in, and the music blaring was just ugh. I went and played some backyard football instead.

Wallypalooza, a new festival being held for the first time ever (4/23) doesn’t show much promise either. There is going to be DJ Super Nova there…yes, a club DJ at a music festival. WHAT?! It’s not a nightclub or spring break resort you morons!! Oh, and their headlining act: ASHER ROTH.

Asher Roth

Up until two days ago when his album dropped, the public had heard one song from this guy. ONE SONG. “I Love College.” Wow, what a creative visionary. This song teaches absolutely nothing that can’t be learned during the first 30 seconds of a keg party. I mean, come on! He is the quintessential opposite of the kind of performer that should be headlining a college festival. Shallow, mindless drivel that is unable to provoke any sort of coherent thought or emotion. The only thing a song like this can spark in an individual is the desire to try a kegstand. Just hang out with some drunken frat brothers for twenty minutes and you’ll have the same desires.

Money well spent

Penn State has injected nearly $130,000 dollars into both Movin’ On and Wallypalooza this year. 10k alone was given to Asher Roth just to get him to come play at Wallypalooza. This money, combined with the reputations of Movin’ On’s past acts had the potential to attract some great talent to both festivals this year. It was so disappointing to see this happen.

In my opinion, colleges and student organizations should always be focused on creating learning experiences for its students. I know, it sounds lame, but it really doesn’t have to be. What is there to learn, experience or develop from these shallow, inartistic power pop bands? I mean, they may very well provide some great entertainment, but there are plenty of acts out there that can entertain and provide a meaningful experience at the same time.

I hope someone will step up in the future and put together some great festivals for next year because I would really love to see some genuinely talented musical acts visit Happy Valley before I graduate. Can somebody just do me a solid here? I’ll buy you a 30 rack.

Image credits –
#1 – Click here
#2 – Click here