Last week’s Christian concert series, dubbed Launchfest, received a phenomenal wave of support on campus. According to the Daily Trojan, “More than 1,000 people RSVPed on the Facebook event and the crowd size at Tommy Trojan reached 400 people in midday heat.”
Yet, the lack of advertising for the religious mission meant some people undoubtedly showed up unprepared for Christian music. Neither the event’s title, nor its flyers, nor even its slogan—“New Music, New People”—suggested any Christian affiliation.
Launchfest featured exclusively Christian artists. While the concert organizers may not have wanted to alienate certain audiences with Christian advertising, to fail to publicize it as a religious event was deliberately misleading. Students who came expecting a secular show may have felt alienated—tricked even—leading to even greater alienation than publicity might have caused.
Honest advertising, meanwhile, would have enhanced the widely publicized “new music” theme, attracting more attention to the event—not less. For some in the audience, the Christian faith was indeed a “new” element to consider. If the connection between these two elements have been better emphasized, the intriguing message of venturing out the comfort zone would only have been strengthened.
It would also have changed the attitudes of people going into the series. Aware of the Christian affiliation, students would have come not just for a secular celebration of music appreciation, but also with hearts prepared to take in something beyond the music. More guests would have showed up ready to experience a new form of spirituality—or to reinforce a form they already followed—instead of feeling manipulated upon arrival.
Drawing attention to the religious undertones would ultimately have done more to accomplish Launchfest’s musician than selective publicity has. After all, the change of focus would have made it clear that Launchfest is not just about “new music.” Rather, it cultivates “new” fervor for faith through music.
Launchfest should have been presented as it was: a Christian event for not necessarily Christian people. Such a “new” conception of Christian music would have increased the event’s appeal, for Christian and non-Christian students alike.