The Collegian
Friday, September 22, 2023

Homecoming concert logistics frustrate concertgoers, students say

<p>The All-American Rejects play at this year's Homecoming concert in The National instead of the usual Robins Center. <em>Photo courtesy of the Spiderboard Instagram.</em></p>

The All-American Rejects play at this year's Homecoming concert in The National instead of the usual Robins Center. Photo courtesy of the Spiderboard Instagram.

Some University of Richmond concertgoers expressed frustration because of scheduling complications at the annual Homecoming concert last Sunday night.

The All-American Rejects played as the concert’s headliner to a crowd of UR students, alumni and other concertgoers.

“The floor was packed and the music was amazing," Alex Stapleton, senior, president of Spiderboard, said. "It exceeded my expectations. Everyone that attended said that it was one of the best concerts they’ve ever attended."

Spiderboard is UR’s primary student-run programming organization, and is responsible for planning Homecoming.

The week-long lead-up to the concert involved an impromptu change in venue and date, which complicated arrangements for some concertgoers, students said.

The concert was originally planned to take place in the Robins Center from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20. But, on Wednesday, Oct. 18, concertgoers received an email explaining the concert had been moved off-campus to The National in Richmond city and would instead go from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22.

“We are excited to announce this change of date, time and venue," the email read. "Limited transportation will be provided to and from The National."

Some concertgoers said no explanation had been given for the change.

“Due to unforeseen scheduling at the University, The All-American Rejects performance scheduled for October 20 has been moved to Sunday, October 22, at the National,” the band’s Twitter announcement said.

Spiderboard, in partnership with Anschutz Entertainment Group, the owner of The National, made the decision based on the number of tickets sold, Stapleton said.

“Not enough students were willing to attend or support the event, so then that’s why it had to be moved,” Stapleton said. “The projected attendance that we originally foresaw, the actual fell way short of that.”

The National can host 2,000 people and the Robins Center capacity is 4,000. The change to the smaller venue was to better the “overall experience," Stapleton said.

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Stapleton said that Spiderboard had not tried to hide their reasoning.

An email sent to concertgoers on Friday, Oct. 20, provided several shuttle times for transportation to and from The National, but misstated that the concert was taking place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., instead of from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

When the day of the event came, these shuttles proved to be inconsistent and unreliable in their timing, concertgoers said.

Maggie Latimer, senior, waited for the shuttle scheduled for 6:10 p.m., but it did not come, she said. Latimer said she eventually found a ride to the venue from a friend.

“It seemed like a mess logistically,” Latimer said. “That being said, I had a great time at the concert. It was a good show, but why was it off campus?”

Jacob Litt, senior, said that his shuttle driver to the venue had told his passengers that there would only be two shuttles going back to campus instead of the five options the email had originally listed. 

Latimer said that The All-American Rejects did not take the stage until 8:40 p.m. Because Litt was told that the only other shuttle option was at 9 p.m., he decided to leave at 8:20 p.m., and missed the band’s performance.

“It’s just a bummer that my honest opinion on the event has to be that the switch was  miscommunicated," Litt said.

The last few shuttles did not leave until around 10 p.m. when the concert ended, Kayla Solsbak, senior, said.

Spiderboard hired a third-party bus company and gave the company the the correct times, Stapleton said.

“The shuttles times that were advertised were the shuttle times that were given,” Stapleton said. “It was up to them to execute and it wasn’t executed as well as we would’ve liked.”

For those that could not go to the concert because of the date change, refunds were available, but not advertised, Sara Messervey, sophomore, said.

People were able to get refunds by responding to the Oct. 18 email, Latimer and Litt said. 

The deadline for refunds was 12 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 20, because Spiderboard had to give all ticket information to The National by then, Stapleton said.

During the concert, a moment of controversy came when The All-American Rejects' lead singer Tyson Ritter made a comment about the change in venue, Solsbak said.

Ritter told the crowd that the concert was moved to The National because UR decided that the band’s name was “un-American,” Solsbak said. “He said, ‘All-American Rejects can’t play colleges now... this is the world we live in now,’ and then he went on his political correctness rant,” Solsbak said. “I was kind of pissed because it isn’t cool to brand our school like that.”

Latimer said she had assumed the statement had been a joke, but that it had been the first real reason she had heard behind the change in venue.

Stapleton said that neither UR nor Spiderboard had made any such decision to disallow the band from playing on campus.

“It’s unfortunate that that’s what Tyson Ritter said, because I can’t control what he says,” Stapleton said. “But the university and Spiderboard, we did not say that they were not allowed, that they were banned."

Despite this, Stapleton said she hoped students would continue to appreciate the Homecoming experience.

“We would hope that we were creating a really positive experience," Stapleton said. "For our students on campus: Keep looking at Homecoming in a positive light.”

Contact news writer Arrman Kyaw at

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