Mercer students and Macon community members had varied reactions to the issues that arose during this year’s Bearstock, such as the cancellation of the outdoor portion.
The daytime concert, which is free and open to the public, was previously scheduled for April 7 in Tattnall Square Park from 1 to 6 p.m. It was canceled the day before due to inclement weather forecasts.
Some non-Mercer students were upset that the public portion was canceled.
Facebook user Emily Michelle Byrd left a one-star review on the event Facebook page after the announcement was made.
“You privatize half of the show and then cancel the only thing left for the public to enjoy? Not impressed,” she wrote.
Several people left angry comments on Bearstock’s announcement post.
User Tori Slaughter wrote, “This is kinda ridiculous. First you cut out the best part to the public. And now the publics (sic) concert gets canceled. Wow.”
QuadWorks left a reply comment announcing that they planned to reschedule the event.
“I think we had always thought to reschedule it, we just used the word ‘canceled,’” Mercer Live Committee Chair Sa’Haara Bryant said. “Just in case something happened where we couldn’t reschedule it, we didn’t want to confuse people.”
Bryant said that the artists scheduled to appear at the event on April 7 were invited back to perform at the rescheduled concert, which took place April 25 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Cruz Plaza during the Student Government Associations’ annual We Are Mercer event.
The new lineup was Kim Meeks from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., speakers from SGA from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Some Kids from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
Bryant addressed other issues that Mercer students and Macon residents expressed about the event, such as the privatization of the After Dark portion and the way artists are selected.
She said that students received a survey in their Mercer emails asking what genres they would like to see at both the day and night portions of Bearstock. The survey included a space for artist suggestions.
However, Bryant also emphasized that the Mercer Live Committee’s budget does not allow for every popular performer.
“We value students’ input, but they are suggestions,” Bryant said. “A lot of the artists that students suggest we can’t actually afford because we don’t have that much money, so we try to find a happy medium.”
Regarding the privatization of the Bearstock After Dark portion, Bryant said that this was not a QuadWorks decision.
“That one was actually an administrative decision, because on Tattnall, we’d had issues in the past with some safety concerns dealing with Macon community members,” she said.
Director of Campus Life and Student Involvement Carrie Ingoldsby said in an emailed statement that the decision was made to move half of the concert indoors to “preserve the concert feel for Mercer students and their guests” while prioritizing safety.
“The general safety of Mercer students is our number one priority. As the event grew in attendance each year on Tattnall, safety concerns arose even with added security,” Ingoldsby wrote.
A Cluster article from 2017 found that “there were a lot of crimes reported on campus” during the nighttime portion of Bearstock when it was open to the Macon community.
Then-President of QuadWorks Nate Flowers said these crimes included “armed robberies, apartment break-ins, car break-ins and physical assault.”