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Future X-Fest planning needs student involvement

By Thresher Editorial Board     4/11/23 11:59pm

The first annual Moody X-Fest is in the books, and by most standards it should be considered a success. But if this is to be an annual event — and we hope that it will be — a few adjustments need to be made. First, the name ‘X-Fest’ has got to go. It’s bad. But more importantly, students should be meaningfully involved in the planning process to ensure that future festivals continue to attract student engagement. 

To our knowledge, the only solicitation of broad student feedback in planning this year’s Moody Fest was a ranked-choice survey open to students, although it certainly wasn’t advertised as such. With potential artists including Bad Bunny, Robert Earl Keen and Paul Wall, it feels safe to say that none of the names on that survey were plausible Moody Fest headliners. No offense to the (roughly) four Grouplove die-hard fans on campus, but we’re pretty sure that no one was that excited about them performing. Students went because it was a free concert, and a novel one at that. But if we continue to book B-tier bands, we’re worried students will quickly lose interest. 

To be clear, we are not calling for a student takeover. No one wants to turn the Moody Fest into a Beer Bike-esque event where a pair of sophomores are stressed beyond belief trying to plan the whole thing. But including a few students on the planning committee, or conducting multiple rounds of student focus groups, would go a long way toward making sure that the festival will be well received on campus. An event designed to attract Rice students should actually appeal to their interests.

We’ve also heard rumblings that this “experience” might not be an annual concert, but rather an ever-changing product with different types of events hosted each year. We love that idea, but again, students need to be meaningfully included in the planning process. Because, and we mean this with all the love in the world, we’re pretty sure that a group of middle-aged adults aren’t super in-touch with what types of “experiences” college students will enjoy. Our humble suggestion? A campus-wide game of laser tag — or anything the students actually enjoy.

Editor’s Note: Thresher editorials are collectively written by the members of the Thresher’s editorial board. Current members include Ben Baker-Katz, Morgan Gage, Bonnie Zhao, Hajera Naveed, Nayeli Shad, Riya Misra, Michelle Gachelin, Daniel Schrager, Prayag Gordy and Brandon Chen.

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