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Rethinking Recess: Spring concert format changed

Last years Recess performers Surfaces
Photo by Jenna Zeise

An annual spring tradition at Bradley will no longer be a yearly event, with the Activities Council of Bradley University (ACBU) announcing that its Recess concert is not taking place this year.

In an Instagram post on Monday, the organization said “Going forward, Recess will occur every other year.” The announcement comes shortly before the concert would have normally been held in mid-April and after a decline in student attendance at Recess in recent years.

“Following the last few concerts that we’ve had on campus, we recognized that we needed to do something a little bit different in order to better appeal to students’ interests, and also kind of taking into account the rising costs of the performers and the production,” ACBU president Allison Boroski said.

Boroski says the bi-annual format will also allow ACBU more time to plan for acts that they hope will pique more interest from the Bradley student body. However, some students are upset with the decision.

One Instagram user commented on ACBU’s Instagram post, saying “What about the [2023] grads who won’t be able to attend Recess?”

Caleb Dean is a senior manufacturing engineering major at Bradley and did not have intentions of going to Recess this year even if it was held, but questioned the timing of the announcement.

“I do find it frustrating that they canceled it so late in the semester,” Dean said.

Past concerts put on by ACBU were not well attended by Bradley students, most notably 2000s rock band We The Kings who performed at Live! On Main in September 2022. Last year’s Recess featured Surfaces and Tai Verdes, two younger artists who have had hit songs within the last few years, but still suffered from a lower-than-expected turnout.

“We were thinking through some different options that something needed to change,” Boroski said. “So that was kind of where the decision started from.”

In the 2010’s, then-current and famous artists such as Bastille, Wiz Khalifa and Chance the Rapper performed concerts at Bradley. Dean wants to see artists with similar fame in future years.

“I know that Jack Harlow was rumored to be on the slate last year and I don’t think they could afford him,” Dean said. “I like having it every other year if they are going to bring people in the caliber of Jack Harlow.”

Boroski admits the decision-making process was difficult and ACBU explored other options in order to improve the Recess experience. However, making time to save more funds was the option that stood out the most.

“The decision wasn’t easy,” Boroski said. “[The change] has been talked about for a long time. It wasn’t finalized until a little bit more recently but it’s been a conversation, honestly, for the last few Recesses.”

Despite the fact that many graduating seniors are upset with not having one last concert, members of the general public can still buy tickets for future Recesses.

“Especially a big concern is the graduating seniors, which is unfortunate, but it’s always open to the public and they always come back anyways,” Boroski said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to reconnect with their college friends.”

The revamped format aims to increase the funds that are available to ACBU for large events like Recess in an effort to book higher-profile acts. The money that would have been used from ACBU’s Special Events Reserve Fund (SERF) for this year’s concert will roll over for next year. 

The SERF is a separate account from money received from Bradley’s Student Activities Budget Review Committee (SABRC), which is a pool of funds that are available to all Bradley student organizations. Members of Bradley’s administration and the SABRC approved the adjusted scheduling for Recess. 

“Basically, we just [earmark the funds] and they’re sitting in this account and so we will use all of that next year,” Boroski said. “This isn’t really affecting anyone else’s funding.”

SERF is funded from the activities fee that each student pays while they are enrolled at Bradley. Of each student’s $85 activity fee, approximately $25 goes into SERF, which also helps pay for departments bringing in guest speakers, ACBU’s Live! On Main and various other programs and events held on campus.

ACBU is still deciding if Live! On Main, which typically brings a comedian or musical artist to the Hilltop will take a similar format. In the near future, the organization plans to put on events such as various movie screenings, a performance by comedian LeClerc Andre on April 18 and a coffee crawl on April 29.

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