Once I entered Pauley Pavilion for Bruin Bash, the plethora of empty seats disheartened me. What I expected to be a crowded, congested, ultra-packed venue betrayed me. Seats remained empty, despite the amped-up lineup planned for the evening. It seemed as if no one was sitting, or standing for that matter, in the number of seats spanning the upper section.
The Undergraduate Students Association Council’s Campus Events Commission has invited high-profile artists such as Chance the Rapper and Ty Dolla $ign to festivals. And while the concert was certainly a success, it could be greatly improved by filling Pauley Pavilion to capacity so more students can enjoy the venue.
That simply wasn’t accomplished this year, when the CEC debuted a lottery system that raffled off floor seats, along with seats in the less popular 100 and 200 sections of Pauley Pavilion this year to distribute tickets. Although the system gave every student a fair chance, it failed to prioritize students who wanted to attend the concert more than others – an issue selling tickets would fix.
It’s clear that the lottery system doesn’t work. Undergraduates who didn’t attend either happened to win tickets while being mostly apathetic about the concert, or couldn’t find anyone with the same color wristband as them, which determined one’s seating for the concert. And there are few people who want to be at a concert alone.
According to USAC Campus Events Commissioner Jordan Dang, there were over 1,000 students who had tickets and never came.
But there’s a glut of students willing to attend, and a better situation can be developed. The problem of seating and attendance could be solved by repealing the Bruin Bash fee and selling tickets for $12 each, providing CEC with the same amount of revenue as the fee while granting the students who actually want to come to the concert the opportunity to do so.
Tickets could be sold online the same way reservations to the UCLA basketball game against Kentucky were taken. However, the only way to repeal the student fee would be through a simple majority vote via a USAC referendum.
Although CEC advertises Bruin Bash as a free concert for UCLA’s undergraduate population, the event actually costs each undergraduate student more than $4 per year, regardless of if he or she won a ticket or even wants to attend.
Ticket sales would give priority to students more interested in attending the concert and seeing the artists, in addition to permitting friends to choose seats in the same section.
Dang even said that the event would sell out if tickets were priced at $12, but opposes ticket sales solely to support the misleading assertion that Bruin Bash is a “free student concert.” However, students would be more likely to attend if they paid slightly more for a ticket consciously, as opposed to disregarding the supposedly free concert they won tickets to. It’s disingenuous to call the concert “free” when all students pay for it and most do not attend.
Dang, along with Cultural Affairs Commissioner Amy Shao, cited fears that people not affiliated with UCLA could attend the concert if tickets were sold. Yet the dilemma could be avoided by checking BruinCards upon arrival, the same way they are checked at the student section entrances to basketball and football games. Tickets would still be bound to the BruinCard that it was purchased on, preventing any resale of tickets for students eager to just make a profit off the event.
Bruin Bash is paid for by generous sponsors, along with the undergraduate student fee of over $4 per year, which only gives students a slight chance at winning tickets. Bruin Bash is supposed to encapsulate as much of the undergraduate student population as safely possible in Pauley Pavilion. However, it’s not necessarily students’ faults for not coming to the festival.
Bruin Bash went well, and students enjoyed the atmosphere, but selling tickets instead of collecting funds through the student fee would allow more students to participate in the experience. Pauley would be filled to capacity with students, and their friends more thrilled to attend.