Absence of House Party Affects Our Bucknell Music Culture

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Speaking for all of us here at Bucknell, I feel as if a certain piece of our collective identity was stolen when House Party Weekend was cancelled this past summer.  Coming back to campus, I wondered what on earth are we going to do now? Let me be straight with everyone from the beginning – I agree that House Party Weekend had grown into a dangerous level, and there needed to be some serious changes, but I do not for a second believe that it should have been cancelled. While the frat boy in me will inevitably miss the weekend for its debauchery, the musician in me will most certainly miss House Party for the rich music culture it brought to our isolated campus.

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The communal aspect of House Party was what made it attractive to students, and music played a significant role in unifying our student body. Those of us who have experienced a House Party Weekend, think – where on campus could you go where there wasn’t music playing? Downtown super Saturdays presented bands, the Uphill fraternities housed DJs and rappers, and even the Caf and the Bison offered music for us to listen to during the down times throughout the weekend. Music, beyond the walls between fraternities falling, was the true unifier that linked our 3,600 students.

There were two unique components of House Party that displayed music in different ways: downtown, and uphill.

First, downtown super Saturdays allowed student bands, such as Kappa Sig’s Truck Bed Band, TKE’s Log Cabin, and Sig Ep’s SPEatles to showcase their talents in front of an eager audience and, more importantly, an audience that may not have frequently attended each fraternity’s parties outside of HPW. Not only did student musicians have a place to play, but the sunny, warm atmosphere lent nicely to other incredible and out-of-the-ordinary music which normally would have no arena at Bucknell. This is best seen in the Steel Drum band that Phi Psi brought in last year. Almost a year removed from that concert and students are still reminiscing fondly. Said one junior, “That was so cool when Phi Psi brought that band in. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that – it was like having a beach party in our own backyards.” Clearly, this aspect of HPW was something that attracted students beyond just drinking.

Next, in contrast to the relaxed, daytime fun found downtown, the uphill fraternity houses provided a wealth of well-known artists for students to come and watch. Since I’ve been here, I’ve had the opportunity to see 3lau and Aer at DU, Ying-Yang Twins and Shwayze at TKE and Mike Jones at Lambda – all of whom are artists I know of, but wouldn’t necessarily have paid to go and see. Better yet, I was able to venture from fraternity to fraternity and experience live music with friends whom I normally wouldn’t be able to as a member of a different fraternity.

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Beyond the atmosphere, having well-known musicians coming to your house to perform is something unique to the weekend, and also gave students real, face-to-face time with artists who come to the houses. One aspect of Bucknell’s isolated campus is that we have a different experience than students who go to school in a more populous area in that we can’t see celebrities walking down the street. We can’t go to clubs or bars to see live artists, nor can we see street musicians on our way to class. For two days a year, HPW gave us this ability.

I am sad to see House Party go because I want so much for there to be a more prolific music culture at Bucknell. Worse yet, there doesn’t seem to be much in the works to replace the musical void left after House Party’s cancelation. As sad as I am, there is a bright spot on the horizon. I see the absence of House Party as an opportunity, one that allows for students, Greek and non-Greek, to partner with the administration to keep bringing smaller artists to campus throughout the year, to keep creating venues for student musicians to play during the semester, and to keep this spirit of the Weekend alive, at least in the context of music.

Sure, House Party is gone, but the music should still press on, and its our time to discover our own school-wide event that uses the unifying power of music to its advantage.

For now, lets embrace the memories that House Party gave us, and push forward together to continue making Bucknell a better place for music.

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