I don’t think that it comes as a surprise to anyone that Fall Flex this year was poorly attended. In fact, I was unaware of its existence until 10:30 a.m. the day of, when a close friend encouraged me to accompany her to the concert. The first thing which felt a little off was the location. The venue change was ill-advised. I’m not immediately opposed to schlepping up to the Levin Ballroom for most events, but I think that Chapels Field has a larger appeal for a crowd, certainly for a nice autumn night at the beginning of the school year. Also, it would’ve attracted more first-years since it’s right next to Massell, and it’s more of a central location on campus. Food trucks also would have contributed to more general excitement over the whole of the event. I believe Chapel’s Field was where it was held last year as well, so I wasn’t sure why they changed it.
In any case, the location was moved. For an event which you had to sign up for in advance online, there wasn’t much fanfare for it. I would’ve expected a couple more signs at least to point concert-goers in the right direction, which really would have helped as I heard a couple of people express confusion over where they were supposed to go. A larger sign could’ve helped. Also, this might just be me, but whenever there are events on campus I feel as though I always come across posters for it once the event has already happened.
I have already mentioned how there were no food trucks at the event. By the time I arrived, there also wasn’t any food, other than ice cream which they had started serving. Now, this would be fine, if they hadn’t said that they would be serving food in the emails which had been sent out. If they had gotten around to serving food, it had already been by the time I left the venue. Again, this would be fine, it’s just that free food is such an obvious draw for college events that it seemed a little strange that there wouldn’t even really be any appetizers. It felt like an oversight, especially for students who were planning their night around the event.
We arrived on time, and although there did seem to be a couple dozen or so students milling around outside Levin Ballroom, there really wasn’t anyone waiting for the show to start inside. It just seemed a little embarrassing, and honestly I felt bad for the showrunners as well as the technicians who were brought out to work when nothing was going on. As time went on it became increasingly apparent that we were going to have to wait a while for anything, and I think this added to the dour mood of the ten or so people who had shown up at that point. This, coupled with the lack of communication from the Campus Activities Board (CAB), contributed to the feeling of frustration.
I arrived at the event at 7 p.m., and left about an hour later when the floor was still empty and no artist had appeared onstage. Apparently, the two artists scheduled, Berhana and Oompa, did perform for a smaller crowd later into the evening. Still, I found it disheartening that we were supposedly meant to stick around far past the start time of the concert for something to happen. Speaking to other students at the event, I found that many others shared the same feelings, and some of them were very openly frustrated about how the event turned out. I would hope that in the future, CAB would try to have more coherent messaging, as well as a higher standard when it comes to attracting students and respecting their time.