Have you ever wanted to be able to experience life as one of your favorite characters for a day? Dragoncon gives thousands of people this opportunity every year. Created in 1987, Dragon*Con “offer[s] over 3,500 hours of non-stop programming, concerts, a film festival, the South’s largest costume contest, and the largest Art Show in all of fandom” (dragoncon.org) to the City of Atlanta. This event allows teens, young adults, and adults alike to celebrate childlike fun for a few days every year. On top of celebrating the worlds of Anime and gaming on this day, Dragon*Con helps to raise funds for charities and foundations. Dragon*Con 2012’s attendance reached “over 52,000 and charity events raised $45,000 for the Georgia Chapter of the ALS Foundation“(dragoncon.org). With this being said, Dragoncon is one of the most popular and highly celebrated cultural events in the city of Atlanta.
Unfortunately, Georgia State’s band has turned down the opportunity to play at this monumental event for 2013. Why? Well according to the GSU Band’s calendar of events from August 30, 2013-September 2, 2013, the event days for Dragon*Con 2013, the GSU Band will be participating in IMP 2013: Atlanta at Georgia State. What’s IMP you may ask? IMP Atlanta is an annual conference whose primary objective is “Building and Managing Relationships in a Global Network: Challenges and Necessary Capabilities” (robinson.gsu.edu). Yes, slightly –well more than slightly, less fun than Dragon*Con 2013, but nonetheless still important.
Since Georgia State’s Band won’t be able to participate in this historic, and frankly awesome, event this year, can Georgia State students look forward to Georgia State’s Band playing in Dragon*Con 2014? More than likely no, this isn’t the GSU Band’s first time turning down the opportunity to play at this event.
For Georgia State to be a school that throws around the word “diversity” much as it does, one would believe that Georgia State, being in the heart of downtown, would make its presence known in the majority of cultural events taking place in the City of Atlanta. But nonetheless, we see GSU Band’s inherent lack of desire to participate in an event as unique as Dragon*Con. Dragon*Con is one of the only cultural events of its kind, especially while taking into consideration its massive attendance every year. But, somehow the GSU Band hasn’t made time to acknowledge it as an event worthy of the presence of Georgia State.
What does this say about not only the GSU Band (or should we place more emphasis on the band directors, W. Dwight Coleman, Robert J. Ambrose, and Steven Harper?) but about Georgia State as a whole, because the GSU Band is of course reflective of Georgia State itself? Georgia State thrusts the notion of an acceptance and admiration of diversity, yet, it turns down the opportunity to have a notable presence in one of Atlanta’s most diverse cultural events more than once! This repeated refusal reflects a lack of appreciation for different subcultures in Atlanta. When asked about this issue Khalid Abdullahi, a junior at Georgia State said, “As a GSU student, I am shocked that the band would turn down such an opportunity. Having been a Dragon*Con attendee in the past, I can assure that GSU students were in heavy attendance. With thousands of people traveling from all around the US to Atlanta, it makes no sense that the college in the heart of Atlanta would not show support, and ultimately gain more national exposure through Dragon*Con.”
So this year, Georgia Tech will be playing at Dragon*Con 2013. Oh the irony!
Editor’s note: The Georgia State Marching Band is directed by Dr. Chester Phillips, Director of Athletic Bands