Blues and Shoes in Limbo

On Monday night, The Colorado College Student Government Association sent an email to inform the student body that Carnivore Club would not be organizing Blues and Shoes this coming fall. The Carnivore Club has handled Blues and Shoes every year since its inception in 2004; thus, according to the email announcement, “there is a distinct possibility that there will be no student-run Blues-like event next year.”

Zac Schulman ‘19, the incoming student body president, believes Carnivore Club’s decision to step down as organizers “presents a really great opportunity for Blues to evolve into something else”—especially given its controversial nature as a bluegrass event which “panders to predominantly white people because of the nature of the music,” Schulman said.

In their email, CCSGA encouraged students to attend a dialogue today at noon in the Wes Room to discuss the future of this annual tradition and how to continue previous efforts to make the event more inclusive and welcoming for all students. “Student government is open to a change and dialogue,” Schulman said. However, regardless of the nature of the new tradition, Schulman affirmed CCSGA’s commitment to host an event at the beginning of the year because Block 1 is “such a great time to bring campus together.”

The four co-chairs of the Carnivore Club recently decided they were no longer going to host Blues and Shoes as the connection between the club and the event has become after the backlash surrounding the event this past fall. They felt defeated because many students felt the event was still not inclusive enough while many other students felt the event had strayed from its origin as a bluegrass festival. “We as the Carnivore Club realized that it might better serve the community to start fresh and have a fall music event instead of a bluegrass event,” said one of the co-chairs, Noelle Edwards ‘19.

Edwards reiterated that their decision as co-chairs of Carnivore Club to step down as the organizers of Blues and Shoes “ha[d] nothing to do with Carnivore Club not wanting to put on an event,” said Edwards. Rather, they simply believe they are “not the best people to keep running this event,” given CC’s increasingly diverse student body.

However, what will happen if another student group does not offer to organize a “Blues-like” event for this fall? Senior Associate Dean Rochelle Mason said, in that case, “the Office of Residential Life & Campus Activities would love to work with other interested students to plan a great and inclusive event for Block 2,” catering to whatever the students wanted—be that Blues and Shoes or “something entirely new.”

Unfortunately, this revision process is beginning incredibly late. Ordinarily, planning for the next academic school year begins now, in Block 7; but that planning does not usually involve organizing an entirely new, campus-wide event from the ground up. Therefore, it will be quite difficult for student groups to craft a formal proposal in time because CCSGA requires that students submit proposals for $5,000 or more four weeks in advance. Since Blues and Shoes is typically held during Block 1, the proposals would be due by the third week of Block 8—less than a month away. Given this time crunch, Mason said she and other staff members in Residential Life and Campus Activities are “looking at having a big event Block 2 instead, so that we all have more time to envision and plan.”

The CCSGA email announcement contained a survey soliciting general feedback about Blues and Shoes. Most of the respondents of the survey expressed interest in having a “Blues-like” event, but a revisited one that is more inclusive and welcoming of all students. This sentiment is neatly summarized by one response that read, “As a senior, I cannot step forward, but I truly hope that when someone does, they can make the bluegrass and horseshoe event more appealing to people of all backgrounds and tastes. I would hate to hear that a tradition that I loved so much has disappeared for future CC students.”

Grace Perry

Grace Perry

Grace Perry has been writing for the Catalyst since January 2018. She is a sociology major and double minor in journalism and Spanish.

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