Valpo Vibes headliner Tai Verdes ended his set Sep. 4 with a bold message to Valpo administration that made his stellar performance even more memorable for students and the community.
Leading into his closer titled “A-O-K”, Verdes expressed his discontent with the contract he was bound to upon agreeing to play at Valpo Vibes, specifically in regards to the restrictions on inappropriate content and swearing.
“This entire time your administration was talking to me about my cuss words. Now listen, I am so sorry administration, I love you guys, but listen, I DON’T GIVE A F*CK,” Verdes said. “I quit school, I left, I f*cking did that sh*t, I don’t f*cking care.”
The blatant breach of contract has caused a stir among the university community as well as concern and speculation that Verdes will not receive compensation and/or face other consequences as well.
“All I'm at liberty to say really is we’re working with his management team. By ‘we', I mean people very high above me. It's kind of out of student org—and even probably Student Life's—hands,” said Ashley Vernon, UPC President.
As administration decides how (or if they would like to) address the situation, Vernon notes how vital the administration’s assistance is to the success of Valpo Vibes.
“Administration has been very supportive of Valpo Vibes. They've been good at promoting it, very supportive of it happening. So we would love to have their continued support and that's why we have these guidelines in place in the first place, kind of respect for their rules,” Vernon said.
Rather than being created by UPC or Student Life, contracts for Valpo Vibes performers are decided by the university themself and are used for a wide variety of circumstances.
“Anybody we bring to campus that's not from campus itself gets a contract, including like, anytime we get inflatables, or previously when we got food, they get pretty much the same contract (and especially for performers). This is all just like university-wide. So it's not just student orgs, it's not just the Union. It's the same for the President's Office, admissions, anybody that comes to campus. So they’re campus-wide rules,” Vernon said. “There's like, essentially three parts of the contract that I'm aware of: the payment that's agreed upon, the policies and then, of course, the writer, what the person wants.So it's like an agreement and negotiation and policies. The two [policies] that I know of are no cussing, and of course [the] COVID policy that got put in place.”
While the ban on swearing and references to drugs or alcohol may seem pointless, they are longstanding University traditions that are unlikely to be changed.
“These rules have been set in place since I don't even know how long before, probably before either of us were born. So they kind of just remain the same out of respect for the institution and the administration. They're just kind of in place for us,” Vernon said. “It would probably be very difficult to change them just because they're used so broadly for a wider range of acts and different things—so that's why they're there. But I definitely get it [student frustrations]. It's the 21st century, we're college students. Is this something we actually care about?”
In terms of future Vibes, major changes may not come about until planning for the next show begins or the university has completed any and all legal proceedings associated with Tai Verdes.
“I don't know what differences will come from it until the next one is planned, what that process will look like,” Vernon said. “I imagine it might just be more emphasis on specific parts of the contract, but I genuinely don't know if it's even a necessity.”
Bypassing the hiccup with Verdes, Vernon feels the show went well overall and specifically praises the crowd’s good behavior.
“Despite everything, I think it was still a really, really good concert. I'm very grateful, especially to the crowd for being like, just really good this year. We really didn't have that many issues from the crowd. Like I know in the spring, there was an issue with pushing and the year before that [there] was an issue with people getting on people's shoulders, which are both against the rules,” Vernon said. “So this crowd was really wonderful. It was great energy and all the artists did fantastic. So I would just kind of like to emphasize, all in all, it was still a really good show.”
This is a developing story. The Torch will provide further information as it becomes available.