The annual barn dance had an extremely low turnout. Here’s why.


Real picture of the barn dance! The barn dance had an attendance of only around 30 — a steep decrease from last year.

Peter Dang, Staff Writer

South’s annual barn dance has been a tradition for a very long time. Normally, the barn dance is hosted at an actual barn with activities like hay rides, costume contests, and more, but recently, the barn dance has been hosted at South. This is due to the increasing price of the barn venue. In past years when the barn dance was hosted at a barn, the rental price of the venue was between 2,000 and 3,000 dollars. Today, the price has risen to around $6,000, making it too expensive for the National Honor Society to afford.

The preparation for this year’s barn dance was very rushed and unorganized. NHS initially wanted the barn dance to be held on the practice field due to it fitting with the barn theme and the possibility of a food truck, but administration refused to have an event later than 6 pm outdoors. NHS then decided to host the barn dance in the gym, but was told four days before the event that the gym floors were being refinished the day of the dance. With no options left, NHS moved the dance to the commons. 

The messiness and uncertainty involving the barn dance was the fault of South’s administration. “The problems started when last year’s advisor stepped down and we had no teacher representation. The administration pretty much stated that we could not communicate with them without a teacher, which considerably delayed our ability to plan the dance because we could not confirm a date”, NHS President Ezra Gearheart stated. Once NHS found their new advisor (Ms. Reyes), they could finally confirm a date. “We could either have it the Friday before or after Halloween, but due to the time crunch, the lack of an advisor, and the administration’s refusal to communicate, we had to go with the later date for it to even be possible,” Gearheart explained. 

Due to the absence of the administration, NHS had no idea how to access their bank account, do sales, and more. “I personally had to modify permission forms from other dances because the administration was practically nonexistent in the planning of the event, which obviously is problematic”, Gearheart said. 

NHS ended up selling around 50-60 tickets for the barn dance, while approximately only 30 students attended. This was a huge decrease from last year’s dance. Students who attended the dance described it as empty and too similar to homecoming. “I didn’t really have high expectations, but I didn’t realize how empty it’d actually be. It seemed to be poorly advertised and planned in a rush”, Sophomore Elle Merlin explained.  “There was absolutely no one there. I feel like it had the potential to be fun but the way they advertised it as a barn dance when it wasn’t in a barn drove people away”, Sophomore Adyra Fine said.

So why did this year’s barn dance have such a low turnout? Students think it’s because of the lack of promotion. Most students had no idea that the barn dance was even happening, which definitely reflected in the ticket sales. 

The only forms of promotion that the barn dance received this year were an Instagram post on the NHS account, some small posters, and a few announcements through the speaker. This was certainly not enough promotion and was one of the leading causes of the low turnout.  Another reason that students think the barn dance had disappointing numbers was because of the lack of hype. Last year, the barn dance was initially supposed to be held at the barn venue. This garnered a lot of hype and many tickets were sold. This year, the barn dance was announced pretty late and was going to be hosted at South. There was nothing exciting or new about this dance. Students were uninterested and were at odds with spending 15 dollars on a dance that would be held in the commons.

As of now, NHS doesn’t plan on getting the barn back, but they do plan on addressing the structural problems that made this dance unsuccessful. “We are going to provide more information to the next group that will be planning this dance, and we have restructured NHS so that not everyone that plans the dance graduates with all of their experience and leaves new members stranded with no starting point on how to plan it”, Gearheart explained.