Culture Festival Performers Cut Short Due to Time Constraints


Tears flooded at the backstage of this year’s Culture Festival on April 1 after some performers were informed that six acts were cut from the program because the Culture Club’s building permit, which was from 7:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., expired.Performances such as Korean pop songs by sophomores Sarah Huang, Hellen Kim and Yun-Hee Nguende, the “So Real” step team and a performance by “Hy-Dephynixion” were cut from the program. The decision to cut performances was made by the organizers when they learned that the building would close 45 minutes after the 9:30 p.m. posted time on their application to use the building.

Disappointed performers’ tears smeared their makeup; Kim said, “I practiced so hard and this’ really [upset] me.” Kim, along with Huang and Nguende, had been practicing their act for two months with the guidance of English teacher Carrie Vieira only to find out that their performance was cut.

Audience members surrounded “Hy-Dephynixion” as they perform their act in the front lobby. — Zhi Xiang Lin

Many of the audience members believed that the program could have been extended beyond the scheduled time, “I felt that it was unfair; they could have waited 30 minutes more,” said senior Brandon Washington. Loyal viewers demanded an “encore” of the program in the front lobby of the school, where “Hy-Dephynixion”performed their act. The performance was caught on an iSpot video (no longer available) as audiences surrounded the performers, and some even lined up on the stairs to witness the performance.

“The people putting it together… their time management wasn’t good,” said Media Services Technician Michael Bailey. Bailey explained that the scheduled time was only until 9:30 p.m., building service was only scheduled to be at the school until 10:15 p.m.; “We had to get out of here, and it had to end,” said Bailey.

The Culture Festival consisted of 28 acts. The first half, which began at 7 p.m., consisted of 16 acts and lasted for two hours. A 15 minute intermission began at 9:15 p.m, leaving 12 acts to perform after the Culture Club’s building use permit had already expired. The program eventually went past the scheduled time frame by thirty minutes, allowing some of the 12 remaining acts to perform, but with adult supervision leaving the building, the event was forced to cancel the rest of the performances.

Performer, junior Solman Izadjoo said, “Knowing you cannot perform at the end… the feeling is terrible.” For some, the impact lasted the entire weekend. Kim said, “I was trying to be happy over the weekend, but I just can’t”. Some of the performers attended school April 4 with hints of misery on their faces.

In addition to the cut performances, security was a concern at the Culture Fest. Some performers’ personal items were stolen from the backstage area, including cell phones and music devices, thus worsening the already tense situation.

Despite the complications, audience members were clearly enjoying themselves, “the performance overall, it was pretty good”, said Washington. Enthusiastic audience memebers lined up around the pit of the auditorium cheering on the performance by “Somewhat Super Hero” and showed strong support for many of the other performances as well.

Audience members expressed concern for the value of their ticket. Sophomore Brandon Algeo said, “People who came and couldn’t see the specific performance should get their money back.” There is currently no word on whether a refund will be issued. Culture Club President Senior Clarisse Mayuga said that she is currently working on a second performance of the Culture Fest, which will be free of admission, the date for the second performance is undetermined.