Underneath the Friday night Mug Night "Blue Tent" of Alumni Weekend 2014But wait, there’s more! What, did you think I was really gonna end on that sappy “anecdote” I planted at the end of the last chapter? Okay, busted, that was how the original Glory Days book finished, but anyway.
In 2009, President Harker (well, at least I’ll give Harker credit) got behind a great idea; a sorta alumni Homecoming thing but not exactly, taking place one week after graduation, after most of the current UD kids have cleared off of campus for the summer.
The inaugural Forum & Reunion Weekend that year attracted over 1700 attendees -- the main attraction being a Friday night “Mug Night” featuring Love Seed under a big tent on the Mall, er, Green -- and it was VERY well executed. It being the first Alumni Weekend, no one really knew what to expect out of it, and it was probably a calculated risk…for most, it really did exceed expectations, especially given that more recent Homecomings having the “fun factor zero” stigma. It was most appreciated that UD was loosening up again, at least a little bit. Sure, they of course asked alumni for donations and all of that, but that’s fine.
After that first one in 2009, word-of-mouth was hugely positive, and Alumni Weekend (a.k.a. “Dela-bration”) has topped itself in attendance, year after year. It hit the 5000 attendee mark in 2013, with both Mug Night tents registered to capacity...
…yes, I said BOTH tents, and here’s where I got a little critical of the event. 2013 was the first year where they added a second tent, with Speaker City playing in one tent, and Love Seed playing in the other. UD framed the second tent decision as being necessary to accommodate more overall attendees, and basically recommended to those signing-up, “If you’re young you should sign-up for the Speaker City tent, and then you old farts should opt for Love Seed.”
My take on it was that in the previous years, they had some internal debate on band selection, not wanting to alienate any single alumni generation. Two tents with two bands solved this -- and the capacity issue was probably legit -- but it still would’ve been nice to have that whole unified sea of alumni under one tent, rather than segregated. And they could’ve found a way to alternate bands throughout the night. That being said, my opinion was more likely shared by the “old people,” trying to reject the inevitability of their own aging!
Kristen and the Noise behind-the-scenes at Alumni Weekend 20142014 was even more of difficult band / tent decision for alumni; Love Seed was back again in one tent, and this time they were able to get the uber-popular Kristen and the Noise in the other. Both bands of course are UD institutions; both tents easily sold out, way ahead of Alumni Weekend.
Then in 2015, a risk that paid off huge: Dela•Bration (aka Mug Night) was staged as an open air event. No tents, no bands to choose from. Almost 5000 UD alumni all on the North Mall, er, Green. Band for the night was Barcelona, out of Philly. And even though they aren’t a band that any of us associate with UD – they didn’t play the Balloon or Deer Park – they easily won the crowd over, rave reviews.
Anyway, as of 2015, I’ve made it to most of the Alumni Weekend Mug Nights since that first one in 2009, and I look forward to seeing you (or meeting you) at the next one. Yeah, I mean like, as many of you as possible. Otherwise I’ll see you on this website, and on Facebook and stuff. Okay, later.
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