The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
A few weeks ago, The Miami Student reported on the efforts of several students to create a music festival called “West Fest” that would take place in Oxford in the spring. This two-day event that would feature numerous musical acts would be similar to other festivals held at schools like Ohio University.
Unfortunately, after we ran the story the university confirmed that they had no role in the planning and the students who were organizing it have yet to respond with concrete plans for an event this spring.
The editorial board believes that an event like this would be a great way to bring publicity to the university and City of Oxford, as well as generate a lot of business for Uptown establishments.
As we already know, schools in Ohio presently have outdoor events and concerts such as this on a regular basis. The best examples of this are Ohio University’s famed HallOUween event and their “fest season” in the spring, which consists of several weekends in a row with well-known music acts coming to perform.
Would it be possible for Oxford to follow suit and create an event that would bring together students for one weekend? We believe it could be, if the university and the City of Oxford willingly collaborated on the event.
Theoretically, the university wouldn’t need to be involved if the event was strictly off campus. However, as we’ve seen with HallOUween, university involvement often makes the event much more regulated and safe. Ohio University restricts the number of visitors students can have on HallOUween weekend, and Ohio State University has started handing out wristbands for when students participate in the “Mirror Lake Jump” before the Ohio State v. Michigan football game.
Miami University becoming involved in a potential music festival event would undoubtedly make the event more controlled and less of a liability for everyone involved.
For the City of Oxford, the event could become a huge draw for guests and potential students. It would certainly increase sales at bars and restaurants in the surrounding area during the event, which would help business owners. Additionally, if the festival became large enough that event staff and maintenance workers would need to be hired, it could create temporary work for a fair number of people, including students.
On the negative side, we understand that the university and city officials would be concerned with the large amount of drinking, especially underage drinking, that may come with bringing an event like this to Oxford. However, if it was organized and regulated with a wristband system and police supervision, we at The Miami Student believe that these problems could be contained.
It’s important to note that Miami has not been drawing well-known musical acts for quite some time. The biggest names we’ve seen in recent years have been brought by Uptown bar, Brick Street, and even those artists aren’t as prominent as ones that nearby schools like Ohio University and Ohio State University are able to obtain. With Miami’s prominence, we shouldn’t have an issue with booking musical acts for a potential festival.
Creating an event like this from scratch would be a lot of work, but after a few years it could become a big annual event that brings together students from all corners of campus. We at The Miami Student fully support efforts to make this theoretical event become a reality, but we know that will only happen with a lot of planning on the part of students and community members.
We believe that something like West Fest would be a hugely positive occurrence for everyone involved, and that the university and Oxford officials should attempt to work with student planners in order to create an event that everyone can enjoy.