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Columbia Spectator Staff

Big Gigantic? Curren$y? Wavves? They weren't on my bucket list either, but I don't understand all the controversy. I may be a naive first-year who has yet to understand what exactly Bacchanal means to the Columbia community, but isn't variety a good thing? Why should the Bacchanal committee be forced to choose the same kinds of acts (regardless of their financial situation) year after year? We are all lucky enough to be attending school in New York, a city that attracts the biggest and best acts from all over the world. With some careful time and money management, we're granted access to a nearly limitless supply of music, shows, and exhibits. That's not even including our ridiculously easy train access to other major cities, each with their own artistic quirks. Many top universities are in the middle of nowhere, depending solely on their own booking abilities to satisfy their music-hungry students—that's not Columbia. As I said before, I'm not an expert on the ins and outs of this year's Bacchanal controversy (on that I'd refer to some of my Spectator colleagues), but I believe it serves as an interesting opportunity to ruminate on Columbia's place in the larger city music scene. We are a vibrant arts community to be sure­—but we are not, nor should we be, self-sufficient. It would be an insult to the city we live in if we limited our major musical event to hosting the big and predictable acts. There's no reason to become a carbon copy of the greater New York arts scene when we have opportunities to enhance and complement it. Our students approach the city with a unique perspective in so many fields (including music), so why should our bookings be any different? It should mean something to us as Columbia students that while Pitbull and Springsteen are playing downtown, we get to party with some jazz-electronica and surf punk. While the hipsters and anti-hipsters in the city defend their turfs and grow increasingly stuck in their ways, let's take some risks and enjoy the hell out of Bacchanal. Yes, the lineup is unexpected, and I have no idea how they'll perform, but we should at least give them the opportunity to win us over with amazing sets. Whether facing financial pressures or not, this year's Bacchanal has made an interesting decision that will present us with an opportunity to see something we might never have otherwise seen. Whatever our monetary situation may be is irrelevant. Even if we could afford the biggest and most mainstream acts, we shouldn't always feel an obligation to do so. First-years will have three more chances, and seniors have already had the opportunity to see numerous big names. As an incredibly diverse campus both in experiences and ideas, we have a chance to contribute to New York's already staggering musical diversity, and those interests are not served by raising a major stink every time someone thinks outside of the box. David Ecker is a first-year in Columbia College. Slightly Off Key runs alternate Fridays.

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