Breaking Bacchanal: What That $7 Means

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The venue, now accommodating <50% of you

The venue, now accommodating <50% of you

Bacchanal has already sold out. However, many members of the Columbia community are upset about this year’s new charge for the show, which limits the amount of concert-goers this year to just 4,000 — excluding most graduate students and outsiders. Editor in Chief Taylor Grasdalen and Managing Editor Courtney Couillard report on the situation.

For the first time in Bacchanal history, students will have to pay a ticket fee to see the annual Spring concert this coming April. The fee, $7, is small but controversial. With major headliner Big Sean after previous years’ less exciting names, students are again looking forward to celebrating this tradition, yet most of the conversation now revolves around the new charge instead of the act.

Bacchanal has indeed faced numerous changes in the past year. Complaints from students and the administration cited that Bacchanal was an “unsafe experience” due to its nature, that it engenders excessive student drinking and dangerous behavior. These complaints led to the cancellation of a potential Bacchanal concert this past Fall 2014 semester. The committee (headed by Ben Kornick, CC ’16, and Mare Venerus, SEAS ’15), with the help of the administration, has in response focused on making the concert a safer experience. One of these changes includes the “Lion Tamers” initiative, where student volunteers will join the concert crowd to watch out for their peers.

While students expected these changes to the concert experience after the Bacchanal committee shared a letter earlier in the semester, many were surprised by today’s news that tickets would cost them. Some argue that $7 might be cost-prohibitive for many (though the show sold out my within the day that tickets were available), and others point out the Activities Fee — which has historically helped cover Bacchanal’s costs — all students already pay in to Columbia.

There is discrepancy over the cause of the new fee. Bacchanal is a group under the Activities Board at Columbia, which allocates funds for Bacchanal to pay for the concert, primarily for the cost of performers. Speaking Sunday evening with ABC President Tony Lee, CC ’15, the Bacchanal Executive Board “did not state that they would be charging money for tickets.” Knowing their intent to charge “would have probably lowered their allocation, since instead of each individual’s student life fees going to Bacchanal, students would be paying directly to attend Bacchanal.”

ABC is still in discussion over the issue, but Lee was able to comment further: “A few important factors would be their margin after ticket sales and also the proposed Student Activities Fee increase. If we can divert enough of the increased funds to Bacchanal such that students don’t have to pay for tickets, that could be an option. But I would assume that without more money, we would give them fewer Student Life fees since they’re charging students directly, although I don’t have a vote as President unless it’s a tiebreaker.”

“This news is literally news to a lot of students,” Lee says, and may in fact be cost-prohibitive for some. “I would assume that for some members of our community, having to pay extra out of their pockets for an event that has always been covered by their student life fees would be prohibitive. ”

Outside of cost, there is also debate over the effect the concert’s crowd limit will impose on the community. In previous years, Bacchanal was open to all undergraduate students as well as graduate students. CU students could bring one guest to the concert. The only provision students faced was flashing their ID before entering the concert space. “In terms of attendance,” Lee continues, “I would assume that it would limit attendance at the hard cap of 4,000. I don’t have the exact numbers, but I am pretty sure a lot more than 4,000 students attend Bacchanal each year from the four schools (and including alumni).”

Bwog reached out the Office of Undergraduate Student Life, which did not comment and deferred to the Bacchanal Executive Board. The Bacchanal Executive Board declined to comment, but will release a non-exclusive statement later tonight on the sell-out.

Correction: A previous version of this post listed Mare Venerus’s name and school incorrectly. We regret the error.

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  1. Anonymous  

    can someone explain why my tuition $ is subsidizing an leisure event that i'm not allowed to go to?

  2. Lupe Fiaso

    I would have sold 20000 tickets at $100....fuckin trust fund babies

  3. Mare Venerus

    Bwog, my last name is Venerus and I am SEAS '15

  4. Big Sean speaks the truth  

    Bitch, I got no feelings to go. I swear I had it up to here, I got no ceilings to go. I mean for real, fuck how you feel, CU administration.

  5. GSAS  

    "most" graduate students? don't you mean all graduate students? ticket sales were only open to the undergraduate colleges

  6. GSAS  

    "most" graduate students? don't you mean all graduate students? ticket sales were only open to the undergraduate colleges....

  7. the real question is

    who the fuck is gonna volunteer to be a 'tamer'

  8. Boycott

    The whole ticketing process is just stupid, before we know it tickets will be $30, while our student life fees will be misspent somewhere else. Meanwhile Ben Kornick fills his facebook with a 100 pictures of him high-fiving Big Sean. Thanks dude for setting the perfect precedent to gouge us in the future.

  9. CC'15

    Well, just my $0.02 on this, but Lion Tamers is an awfully condescending/stupid name.



  11. Prezbo

    i could have just taken 11/12ths of the raise I got, but I'd rather you pay than lose that last twelfth. Those wine baths are expensive:

  12. Unofficial bacchanal  

    https :// www . facebook . com / events / 703867473055542 /

    (Remove the spaces)

  13. Twitter  


  14. If $7 means that much to you  

    You're being pathetic. For real, do like less than one hour of minimum wage work. Or shut the fuck up

  15. CC '11

    Columbia student life on the decline

  16. y'all.  

    this is huge. not only is the $7 a really shitty thing to drop on people out of nowhere (especially after they already asked people to pay for sweatshirts, including people who weren't able to get tickets), but apparently, they didn't even do it "right" by telling ABC they would be selling tickets. which means they got more money than they should have. which is... basically theft for all of those people whose student life fees are paying for the concert who will not be able to go because a) the concert is sold out b) $7 is prohibitive or c) some combination thereof.

    that's fucked up. can anything be done about it?

  17. y'all.  

    and personally, as someone who paid for a sweatshirt and wasn't able to get a ticket, i would like a fucking refund.

  18. Btw  

    Anyone else see the actual ticket price as $8.34 instead of just $7? Because this was done through eventbrite, they charged an online processing fee!! If I wanted hidden fees I'd buy concert tickets through ticketmaster, the thieves.

  19. iwjlhnf

    wouldnt it have been smarter to maybe sell 4000 tickets to each of the three different performers and then everyone could only buy one, thus accommodating 3 times as many students? no ones gonna stay for the whole thing anyway..... come on aren't we columbia students who can do math, MV insists that she is in SEAS and can't do math

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