While we may all still be stuck in the marshes of midterms right now, in a few weeks we will be preparing for the end of another semester. And a good portion of us will be preparing to take advantage of our last opportunities to have fun and relax before the coffee-induced insomnia of finals takes hold.
Normally, this pre-finals decompression would be immediately associated with the Mifflin Street Block Party. But this year, that’s changing. Student government, University of Wisconsin administration and Mayor Paul Soglin seem to finally have come together and endorsed Revelry, a music-focused event on May 4.
At its first press conference, Revelry spokesperson Bess Donoghue made sure to mention the event has nothing to do with Mifflin, though. It just happened to fall on the same day.
UW administration has long perceived Mifflin as a “stain” on their otherwise “immaculate” student body. It’s always labeled a violent Saturnalia where morally upstanding students suddenly morph into minions of alcohol, violence and poor decisions.
Yes, there are unfortunate occurrences that happen at Mifflin. But considering the university’s stance has been to send students messages akin to “don’t go,” it’s no wonder the event has devolved in some regards. UW’s telling students they ought not to go is like thinking we don’t need sex education because we can simply warn a teen sex is an evil sin and they shouldn’t ever have it. UW uses passivity! It’s not very effective…
But I do have to give props to this year’s Revelry attempt. It doesn’t seem like some artificial feign at breaking Mifflin. Mifflin will likely carry on regardless of how much UW and Soglin try to drag it to a grinding halt. If the city and UW administration want to change this “stain” into something more positive that they can actually acknowledge and promote, then Revelry is exactly what they need.
I’ve been impressed so far with the planning and preparation. The advertising around campus has given Revelry a “real” vibe, as if it’s going to be an actual event I’d want to attend, an opportunity to make some great last memories of the semester.
Furthermore, Revelry has put forth some ideas for logistics that seem to be what the event would need. For example, the Revelry planning committee is considering a scheme under which purchasing tickets would require a UW ID, but students could bring a guest. This will easily get rid of a lot of the violence Mifflin has seen in the past, which has been linked to out-of-town guests.
But most importantly, the event will allow alcohol to be sold to those over 21 years old. This is hugely praiseworthy, given UW administration’s former hesitation toward alcohol being served at any sort of Mifflin replacement. It seems they’ve finally wised up and realized a Mifflin alternative won’t garner a crowd without allowing beverages.
But the real make-or-break aspect will be the music. They haven’t announced the lineup yet, and when they do, it better be pretty damn good. Because while Revelry seems like it has a lot of potential, most students I’ve talked to are still planning on going to Mifflin. Yet, with the right lineup Revelry could be a huge success. So if the university is serious about helping Mifflin transition from the Bacchanalia they see it as, they better not screw up. They need to ensure Revelry organizers pick some pretty big names.
Mifflin seems to be in a state of suspended animation. It’s not exactly dying, but not exactly thriving. It’s stuck in a perpetual cycle of build, climax, return to calmer levels and repeat. Revelry has the potential to be the kind of event that could replace it with something even better, but it’s all going to come down to the music selection.
Reginald Young ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in legal studies and Scandinavian studies.