Wednesday, March 05, 2008

How to start a riot

1. Host an event that draws a large number of 18-25 year olds to a relatively small area of a small college town.

2. Prevent most of those 18-25 year olds from attending the major entertainment venue at the event.

3. Introduce alcohol, sit back, and watch as a bunch of drunk students and poorly trained cops destroy part of Ames (again.)

That seems to be the idea the VEISHEA committee is going with this year. For those of you who don't know what VEISHEA is, check out the Wiki page. Basically a week long party on the ISU campus with a big festival/concert on the closing weekend. But it doesn't appear so this year.

Check out the great plan for yourself:

VEISHEA has worked very hard to build an entertainment package that will host a diverse set of performers and cater to the tastes of all members of the Cyclone Family. In order to ensure a safe and successful concert atmosphere, and to put on the best possible concerts for ISU students, faculty, staff and alumni, VEISHEA has implemented the following wristband policy for Live @ VEISHEA events:

Musical headliners will perform on the former marching band practice field near Howe Hall and the College of Design on the west side of campus. Admission to that outdoor venue will be limited to ISU students, alumni, faculty and staff who purchase wristbands.

A total of 7,000 wristbands will be sold on a first come, first served basis. Wristbands are $5 and will be on sale at the following times and locations while supplies last:


Students, faculty, and staff may each purchase one wristband with a valid ISU ID card. If any wristbands remain by Thursday, April 10, ISU students will have the option to purchase one additional wristband for a friend. Wristband prices will increase to $7 on Friday night and Saturday. Wristbands will be valid for concerts on both Friday and Saturday nights of VEISHEA weekend, April 11-12.

Alumni may purchase wristbands through the ISU Alumni Association.
For more information, visit or call 1-877-478-2586.

No one will be admitted to the band field without a wristband.

Couple things jump out of me that will be wrong with this. First, you're removing the concerts from where everything else VEISHEA related is going to be. There just isn't going to be space on the band practice field for much more than a stage or two and the people attending the concert. It's on the outskirts of campus. Not centralizing the entertainment and other venues on campus was one of the fundamental reasons behind the 2004 riots. The concerts on Saturday night are over at 1800. I'm not quite sure why that is, but the lack of late evening entertainment is another one of the fundamental reasons for the 2004 riots. Through restricting attendance to 7,000, you're preventing a sizable chunk of the ISU student body from attending. I would make a comment about how I expect to see a black market for wristbands spring up, but I doubt that considering the lackluster entertainment. An event that has hosted John Wayne, Billy Joel, and Ronald Reagan and the best we can do is Eve 6? (Although, honestly, Eve 6 is probably a step up from Mike Jones last year.) Finally, this is speculation, but there seems to be an emphasis on no alcohol at Live@VEISHEA events this year. While it's true that there has never been alcohol permitted at Live@VEISHEA events in the past, the police have generally taken a laissez-faire approach and only written up those who were causing a scene. If that changes, it'll do two things: one, people who are drinking will become unnecessarily alienated at the police, and two, most people will cease drinking on campus and move off campus. Again, two of the fundamental factors to the 2004 riots.

If the powers that be were trying to recreate the situation that led to the 2004 riots and/or make VEISHEA so unattractive as to kill it off, they would be off to a helluva start. Of course, I don't think that because powers that be are usually never that deviously clever. They're usually just massively incompetent.

I like where these people's heads are at, but unfortunately that option would require me to spend money, so that's a non-starter. However, speaking of facebook, it's worth noting that there are close to 7,000 people in a facebook group opposed to the decision.

In any case, don't be surprised if you hear some unpleasant news out of Ames come 11 or 12 April.