The recent decision by Activities Council of Bradley University (ACBU) to cancel this year’s Recess concert caused various emotions such as surprise, disappointment, and bewilderment among students. With the typical timeframe for the concert fast approaching, the announcement halted the anticipation on who would be performing.
With past years’ concerts put on by ACBU being sparsely attended and artist selection questioned by students, the organization does deserve credit for taking a step in the right direction toward once again making Recess a can’t-miss event.
By electing to roll over funds to next year’s concert, there is hope and a much better chance that 2024’s Recess headliner will have more head-turning appeal and won’t cause students to be as critical of who is performing on the Hilltop.
However, it does put pressure on ACBU to choose an artist or artists that will be received well by students. Some may be completely turned off by the idea, but others will be waiting with tentative trust until the headliner is announced.
The decision to cancel this year’s Recess altogether less than four weeks before it would have happened without an alternative was a slight letdown. There are many talented local bands – some of which are even currently based at Bradley – that could have been slotted in as an option.
ACBU did not necessarily make the “wrong” decision though. With artist booking prices and student interest trending in opposite directions, it’s almost certain that a lot of tough conversations were had behind closed doors. Bradley students wanted bigger and better artists and, at least for now, it appears like their desire will be satisfied.
The organization is also not playing dirty either. Although some graduating seniors may feel like they’ve been jilted since only one Recess has occurred since 2019, the event is open to the public and even paying the slight non-student admission fee for an A-list or B-list artist is a significant discount compared to “normal” ticket prices. It also gives soon-to-be graduates an opportunity to come back to Peoria, see old friends and visit their favorite spots while they’re in town.
ACBU is not taking away funds from other student organizations on campus either because additional dollars for future Recess concerts plan to be obtained via a portion of the activities fee that each student at Bradley pays in their tuition bill.
Students might as well attend these shows since they’re paying for them, in essence. Even if next year’s headliner isn’t your favorite artist, take advantage of the opportunity to see a concert at your university with your friends who may want to go because it won’t happen as often as in year’s past.
As of now, Live! On Main is still planned to be happening annually but could see a similar change in format as well. If ACBU were to choose to do so, they should have Live! On Main and Recess in alternating years instead of having a “double or nothing” format.
Either way, the decision to cancel the 2023 edition of Recess puts a damper on the campus-wide anticipation to see if there’s an improvement over bands of yesteryear but the new format should, at the least, spark cautious optimism and provide validation to students wondering if ACBU hears their concerns.