Fall Ball better organized but with bland music
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 09:09
In contrast to the Fall Ball fiasco of 2011, Friday’s dance proved an administrative triumph. Music, however, was an unfortunate casualty of the event.
Last year, construction on the now-completed Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center prevented students from forming lines outside Fall Ball’s Gantcher Center entrance. Students were instead forced to enter through a select number of doors at the front of Cousens Gymnasium. A vast bottleneck resulted when a swarm of 1500 students joined the queue in a thirty-minute span, according to Office for Campus Life (OCL) Assistant Director David McGraw. Small pockets of students began pushing people in the lines, in attempts to force others through the entrance, and several were removed from the event by the Tufts University Police Department.
To make last year’s situation worse, the OCL had recently unveiled its online ticket distribution system, tuftstickets.com. One of the first events to make use of Tufts Tickets, Fall Ball was a victim of an inefficient barcode scanning system, McGraw told the Daily last fall. Unable to validate all tickets and confronted by a mob of eager students, last year’s event administrators chose to allow anyone to enter, provided they had a printed ticket, McGraw said.
This year admission to the dance was far more selective and organized. With last year’s Fall Ball under their belts and further experience with the barcode ticketing system, the OCL successfully limited entry to those with IDs that matched their ticket’s barcodes. This left students who had obtained tickets from disinterested friends without valid credentials to enter the dance. Event staff politely turned away students whose names were not on their official roster of registered attendees.
Despite these improvements, the experience inside Fall Ball lacked its usual excitement. Once again, the university hired GrooveBoston, a company that markets itself as a “mobile college club.” The group generated an intricate visual atmosphere by using a variety of strobes and lasers and making full use of a mist machine. However, the music selection – arguably the most important aspect of any dance — was not particularly appealing to the average Tufts student.
Last year’s Fall Ball saw the inclusion of pop divas, house music and just a taste of dubstep in the eclectic mix played over the course of the four-hour event. This year, however, GrooveBoston’s team presented the student body with few recognizable selections. They focused instead on obscure electronic genres and remixes with limited melodic or lyrical resemblance to their mainstream counterparts. A small technical error further dampened the mood when the lights flicked on at the start of the second DJ’s set. After all, it is one thing to boogie in the privacy of darkness; it is quite another to face your dance partner under the glare of fluorescent gym lights. GrooveBoston performed wonderfully when they helped organize last year’s Winter Bash, so their lackluster show was particularly disappointing.
Overall, Fall Ball was an unequivocal success for those involved in planning and implementing the event. While the student experience would have been augmented by a GrooveBoston tour more reminiscent of last year’s event, the sweaty, humid mess inside Gantcher last Friday evening proved that the “Visceral Tour” was, at the very least, appropriately named. Fall Ball might not be the most culturally thrilling experience, but its coordinators can always depend on a generous student turnout looking for some on-campus fun.