The Dean E. Smith Center. Home of the UNC men’s basketball team.
This arena is a place for sports fans to watch their beloved basketball games, root for their favorite players and analyze every move on the court. There is one aspect of the Dean Dome that appeals to expert sports fans and novice student admirers alike: its atmosphere.
This atmosphere is so special that it should not be experienced exclusively for a few months out of the year during basketball games. The famed arena should be used for more than just basketball – it should also be used for concerts.
In a bygone age, the Dean Dome used to be alive with the sound of music. Acts like Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones and Janet Jackson played the arena in the 1980s and 90s, but the venue has been absent of live music since Boyz II Men came to town for SpringFest 2008. But why?
The Dean Dome's magnitude creates a feeling of community, and it deserves to be savored for more than one athletic season. The atmosphere in the arena parallels that of a concert – excitement, enthusiasm and glee. Bringing concerts back to the Dean Dome would allow an entirely new experience, one that can appeal to a wider reach of people outside of those who are devoted UNC basketball fans.
This venue is a quintessential North Carolina establishment and its legacy and presence hold a significant value and meaning to the people of both the University, as well as the entire state. Hosting concerts could be a way to gather throughout the year, as opposed to letting the building sit void of fans for months at a time. These concerts could be used to generate excitement and hold true to the legacy of the Dean Dome, as expanding events inside the arena may make it feel more accessible to those outside of the sports world.
Consider how non-basketball experts utilize the Dean Dome currently.
People-watching, looking at the jerseys in the rafters, dancing to the music and enjoying a space in which everyone is united, enthusiastic and excited. This same sense of community, social engagement and entertainment can and should extend beyond just one type of event.
Furthermore, the excitement generated around campus when a celebrity is in the area would be exhilarating enough. For example, when Apple Paltrow and her mother and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow were spotted on Franklin Street, campus exploded with talk of their famed appearance at UNC. The buzz generated from her visit could be felt for days to follow.