CAB Attempts to Diversify Concerts With BCL

DaniLeigh at Live Nation

The Campus Activities Board’s (CAB) Boston City Limits concert, which will take place on Saturday at 8 p.m., aims to bring more inclusivity to campus than concerts in the past with its “Electric Soul” theme, according to a statement posted on the CAB Facebook page. Featuring R&B artist DaniLeigh as this year’s headliner, CAB said it hopes to make more students on campus feel included as it branches out to music genres and artists different from those that have been featured in the past. 

“Boston City Limits hopes to embrace genres that have not been represented in recent years,” reads the statement. “Boston City Limits: Electric Soul is not only a concert, but an event dedicated to reaching communities on campus who have been traditionally disregarded and silenced. Regardless of ethnicity, religion, ability, gender, sexuality, or race, we want every person at Boston College to feel respected, heard, and seen.”

CAB’s winter concert was previously known as Plexapalooza before the Flynn Recreation Complex—known as the “Plex”— was torn down and replaced with the Margot Connell Recreation Center over the summer. It has often featured EDM artists in the past, including RL Grime and Cheat Codes. 

With the demolition of the Plex, CAB had new creative liberties to change its winter concert, according to CAB assistant directors Dom Conti and Jack Stanton, both CSOM ’22. After a retreat at the beginning of the school year and months of discussion, the organization ultimately decided to take the concert in a new direction by featuring its first R&B artist, they said. 

“I think we just didn’t want it to be another Plexapalooza,” said Conti. 

“We debated for a while between dance and R&B because, I mean, we’re humans,” Conti added. “Change is scary. … We kind of looked and said, if we do dance we’re kind of just doing dance to keep serving the same people. We’re doing dance just to do dance, and with R&B we can make a real impact.”

Moving away from EDM and the “dancy” environment generated by concerts in the past, CAB decided to take the new winter concert as an opportunity to branch out and try something new in an attempt to further CAB’s mission for the campus—and BC’s mission as a whole—said Conti. 

Part of CAB’s initial planning of the concert included a discussion of whether the organization would continue to put on a winter concert. CAB’s decision to hold the concert was in part due to the organization’s effort to diversify its events on campus in an attempt to include all students, said Conti and Stanton.  

CAB hopes the Boston City Limits concert will reach more students on campus than prior events, as the organization is making an effort to put on events that are more diverse and inclusive, said Conti and Stanton. With a headliner who breaks away from the concert’s themes and genres in the past, CAB wants this year’s winter concert to not only serve the vast majority of the student body, but also students who have felt underrepresented by past events. 

“I also just think it’s such a big campus with so many people on it, and we’ve kind of just been serving the same people the whole time [with] the same music genre,” said Stanton. “[We’ve] just been kind of rolling out the same concert over and over again. And like Dom said, they’re great concerts, but it’s not our job just to serve the same couple thousand people every time. We want to make it so our concerts can change genres, and people will still be excited about it.”

The Boston City Limits concert will be one of many new CAB events meant to reach out to different communities on campus and expand students’ horizons overall, Conti and Stanton said. 

“I don’t think it’s a secret that CAB, and BC as a whole, is a very white-dominated campus and group,” said Stanton. “And so I think in recent years we’ve taken great strides into diversifying and making sure that everyone has events that they could go to on campus. So that was a big thing for the concert because concerts are no doubt our three biggest events of the year.”

Conti and Stanton emphasized that the Boston City Limits concert is not the end of CAB’s efforts to make its events more inclusive, but rather it is a starting point. 

“It’s one of our big missions to make sure that every event we put on has an intent behind it and it’s being made, and being put on in the best way possible so that … people want to come to our events, and people have a place at our events, and people feel included …  and just have a good time,” said Conti.

Featured Image by Justin Higuchi / Wikimedia Commons