Uptown West Fest 2019 (copy)

The crowd at Fifth Third Arena quickly dispersed Saturday, April 6, 2019, after students were instructed to leave the floor during the 2019 Uptown West Fest.

Following the chaos of last year’s Uptown West Fest, the student-led Programs & Activities Council (PAC) has chosen to discontinue the annual event and rebrand it with a new focus. 

To the disappointment of many, last year’s concert saw Lost Kings walk out mid-performance after being interrupted by a dispute between PAC representatives and students over a mandatory seating policy. 

“That event, unfortunately was not the student’s fault or the programming board’s fault,” said Mackenzie Kinman, staff adviser for PAC, adding that there were a number of factors that were out of PAC’s control which played a role in the failure of last year.  

“We were prepared for the worst and the worst had happened,” she said. “We’re human just like everyone else.”  

This year PAC is looking for a fresh start with the council’s new focus being on “free and inclusive events.”  

While on the topic of inclusivity, Kinman cited that PAC has been working in tandem with UC’s Disability Services to offer more accommodations so that those with disabilities may better access and enjoy the events on campus. 

Many students were upset at the fact that they didn’t receive a refund for last year’s concert.

“PAC won’t refund us, Lost Kings left out of frustration and no official could give us a good answer as to why we couldn’t have stayed on the floor,” a student told The News Record at the time. 

Kinman noted that PAC has a strict no refund policy. 

Yet despite students’ frustrations, she is hopeful they will give PAC another chance this year.

“We went in planning and trying to create an experience with our best intentions,” Kinman said. “We’re very apologetic and understand that, but we’re working to make sure that doesn’t happen again.” 

While she says the new name for the concert is still being decided, it’s not going to be anything too crazy, Kinman said. She added PAC’s main goal is to shift people’s attention away from the negative connotation of the old name

As part of this initiative, PAC is abandoning Fifth Third Arena as a venue to ensure no cost for students, said Kinman. All of this year’s concerts will be held outdoors with Campus Green being a likely alternative for the still unnamed Spring Concert.