Topeka needs big-time acts

Josh Spence

It was recently announced that Carrie Underwood will be performing live at the Kansas Expocentre in September.My initial thought was “Finally, I’ll have a chance to propose to her,” for it is common knowledge that I am, indeed, her type. However, my secondary thought was something along the lines of “How in the hell did we get Carrie Underwood to come to Topeka?”It’s been an unspoken understanding among Topeka residents for years that the Expocentre is really only good for three things: gun and boat shows, unsuccessful hockey teams and the circus. While I do enjoy a nice gun and boat show from time to time, and I once dreamed of trying out to be a trapeze artist, it would be nice if we could start booking more shows like this in Topeka.For too long, Topeka has been the armpit of the Manhattan and Lawrence music scenes. Not to mention Kansas City, which can now draw stars like Garth Brooks to do nine shows in a row in the Sprint Center, making the Expocentre seem all but worthless.With the additions that are planned for the River Walk, isn’t it time that Topeka takes back their rightful title as a “Happenin’ place?” Shouldn’t we, as Washburn students, be able to transform the music and entertainment scene in our city the way the University of Kansas and Kansas State students have?I would dare to dream that we have student bands that rock potentially just as hard as any band to our east or west, that our theatrical productions could be just as exciting as the ones in Lawrence, or that we could one day have our own center of entertainment like Manhattan has in Aggieville.My hope is that someday, in the not so distant future, the Shawnee State Lake could be the site of a concert just as big as the Country Stampede or Wakarusa Fest.Until then, I’ll settle for driving 45 minutes to Manhattan, buying food tickets for outrageous prices, watching people wrestle in the mud between bands and wandering around for an hour looking for the car afterwards.