Due to complaints from the Fredericksburg community about the UMW Homecoming concert Saturday night, President Rick Hurley wrote a letter to the Free Lance-Star apologizing to the College Heights community for the noise level and content of the music.
According to the Free Lance-Star, three Fredericksburg residents complained about the concert, which featured the rapper Wale.
In the letter, Hurley said that as a member of the community, he understood their concerns. He told the Free Lance-Star that if UMW had known about the profanity in the lyrics, the concert would have been held inside.
Hurley’s letter gave a nod towards the Anderson Center, which will have arena seating for 2,500 people. Once it is completed in 2011, it will provide UMW with an indoor option for large events like Saturday’s concert.
In the letter, Hurley said over 1,000 students showed a preference in a survey for having Wale come to UMW.
Mitchell Bass, a junior, didn’t have a problem with the event. He said it was too crowded, but that happens at every concert.
“He had a good sound system,” Bass said.
Freshman Thomas Hughes felt similarly.
“I don’t really think it’s that much to complain about, to be honest,” Hughes said.
Catherine Dixon, a sophomore, thought the noise and profanity were typical for a concert.
“It should be expected, since they live so close to the campus,” she said.
-Anne Elder contributed to this report.
From Hurley’s Letter to the Editor, which ran in the Free Lance-Star on Oct. 25:
One of our Homecoming traditions is a Saturday evening concert and fireworks show. This aspect of the weekend is managed by our students, and the concert band is hired by Giant Productions, the student group that is responsible for such bookings. In response to a student survey in which over 1000 students expressed support for the proposed band, the group was contracted to perform at Homecoming. This band currently is very popular on the campus circuit having performed most recently at George Washington University, the University of Virginia, Washington and Lee, as well as James Madison University. Unfortunately, the Saturday evening performance proved to be disruptive to some of our adjacent neighborhoods. Not only was the music extremely loud, but the language contained in the lyrics was upsetting to those who would not choose to attend a concert of this nature.
I am sorry that a high-spirited weekend on campus ended on such a negative note for some of our closest neighbors who were offended by both the volume and the content of the music. As a member of this community, I understand these concerns. As president, I am committed to a strong, positive working relationship with the citizens of our city and region, and I apologize on behalf of the University for this occurrence.
The University has been limited in the past by an inadequate indoor venue for such events. I’m pleased that the new Anderson Center, with an arena capable of seating over 2500 people for concerts, will open in 2011. For the first time in Mary Washington’s history we will have an outstanding alternate solution for certain large concerts. While some University events are appropriate for an outdoor venue, this past Saturday evening’s concert would have better served our entire community being held indoors if such space had been available. We look forward to the opening of the Anderson Center so that we will have both indoor and outdoor options for our events.
Richard V. Hurley, President
Photo by Anne Elder/Bullet