Big Show 5 to feature high-profile headliners, facing criticism

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Two high-profile bands, Jimmy Eat World and Taking Back Sunday, will headline Big Show 5, an annual free concert for students, presented by Associated Students and A.S. Student Production and Campus Entertainment.

The large-scale event, which has faced criticism for its high costs and advertising campaign, will take place Sunday, May 8, in the Sierra Quad.

Now in its fifth year, the annual event has hosted such acts as Ozomatli, Talib Kweli, Nikka Costa, Del the Funky Homosapien, Unwritten Law, The Ataris and Phil Da Agony.

Unlike in previous years, Big Show 5 will be almost exclusively a concert, and will not include games like rock-climbing and bungee jumping, or crafts and free food, said Marina Terteryan, SPACE director of concerts.

The event, which in previous years has been as long as six hours, will last between three and four hours, she said.

Other changes to this year’s Big Show include the elimination of local musical acts from the concert’s lineup. Additionally, the combination of musical acts, in this case Jimmy Eat World and Taking Back Sunday, are similar in genre and high in popularity.

This is significant, said Kevin Mojaradi, marketing and public relations coordinator for A.S.

Since there were various genres of music involved in the past Big Shows, students would come only for the acts they wanted to see, and then leave, he said.

“(By having just major acts), your audience will stay there for the whole show,” Mojaradi said.

The event has faced its share of criticism from a variety of campus community members.

Last week, a loosely organized collection of CSUN students, faculty and staff members titled CSUN United For Peace and Justice circulated, through electronic listserv e-mails, bold criticisms that questioned the amount of funding the event received.

Chad Charton, A.S. director of finance, said the event organizers, an internal group within A.S., initially asked for $70,500 to successfully execute the event. The Finance Committee recommended $50,000 for the event, and the action item moved to the A.S. senate for voting, where it ended up receiving the full $70,500 in funding out of the A.S. Unallocated Reserves account.

Selene Salas, A.S. Humanities II senator, made some of those criticisms, and believes that while she thinks the Big Show is a great event, she believes too much money has been wasted on acquiring the high-profile acts.

Following a series of recent funding votes in the A.S. senate, the Unallocated Reserves account has been reduced to just $401. Salas said she feels A.S. money could be better spent elsewhere, and that her sentiment is shared by students outside A.S.

“Why can’t we (instead) educate the whole campus on budget cuts?” Salas said, suggesting that A.S. should devote more of its resources to open forums where student fee hikes and other campus financial strains can be discussed.

SPACE itself was allocated $113,400 for the 2004-05 fiscal year, but Big Show 5 funding is supplemental to that initial funding.

The University Student Union’s Union Program Council, due to budget constraints of its own, was unable to provide additional funding to Big Show 5 as it has done in year’s past, according to Terteryan.

Charton said he anticipates the A.S. Unallocated Reserves account to be reinvigorated by an influx of new funds due to “excess enrollment funds,” which will be funneled directly back into the Unallocated Reserves account.

Big Show 5 organizers are planning a series of marketing strategies to foster interest in the event, including listening parties where the headliners’ music will be played publicly, as well as the distribution of promotional materials, such as free CDs.

“We make the best of our resources and our abilities,” Terteryan said. “We try to bring school spirit (to the event).”

One way in which Big Show 5 organizers are hoping to maximize school spirit is by crowning the Homecoming queen during the show. The winner will be kept secret following A.S. elections on April 12 and 13, and will be announced prior to major performances during Big Show 5.

But advertisements for the event, which feature a topless woman with her back to the camera and a topless man with his front to the camera, have received similar criticism through UPJ’s e-mail listserv for objectifying the human body for promotional purposes.

Each student pays a $64 A.S. fee as part of tuition each semester, creating a total budget of $5 million each fiscal year that is allocated to various A.S. and campus programs, as well as to student clubs and organizations.