The UCONNIC music festival last Thursday was marked with controversy, as the surfacing of rape allegations against opener Sean Kingston prompted SUBOG to cancel the artist. Because of the timing and concerns over legal issues, students were not informed of this decision until around 5 p.m., less than an hour before the doors were to open. Students were frustrated that they were given so little notice, although most agreed with the decision to remove Kingston from the lineup. Between this and Summer Walker pulling out due to travel issues, the UCONNIC lineup became noticeably sparse. Students were compensated for these cancellations by having their tickets reimbursed. However, steps need to be taken to prevent these issues from happening in the future.
To begin, the timing of the bookings needs to be discussed. SUBOG did not confirm who would be at UCONNIC until about a week beforehand. While it can be difficult to determine a lineup, this is unacceptable: People buying tickets to any music festival deserve to know which acts will be playing, it is irresponsible and unfair to ask students to buy tickets when they do not know who will be attending. Additionally, confirming and announcing who will be playing at an earlier time would help avoid this last minute controversy. If the acts had been announced even a week earlier, it is likely that the issues surrounding Kingston would have come to light well in advance of the concert. In this scenario, SUBOG would have had more time to announce their cancellation of Kingston and inform students in advance.
There are also issues to be considered with acts that are booked and need to travel. Twice in the last three years, artists have cancelled as a result of travel complications. While it may not always be feasible, attempting to book acts who will not be flying last minute should be given consideration. While this is less of a problem with a music festival, the cancellation of Iil Uzi Vert completely erased the Spring Concert in 2017. The weather is uncertain, but steps can be taken to minimize those associated risks.
Furthermore, it is imperative for better background checks of the artists to be conducted. SUBOG would not have invited Sean Kingston if they had been aware of the rape allegations against him, and much of this could have been avoided if they had looked into his history. SUBOG and any other organization inviting individuals to attend university events need to do their homework. Otherwise, the event in question becomes dominated by controversy and distracts from its purpose.