Need for spring concert debated

Victoria BresnahanNews Editor

Funding for the annual spring week concert is up for debate by the Student Government Association, as well as whether students value the event.

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get an artist that the students are happy with and recognize,” said Associate Director of Student Involvement Eric LaCharity, at the SGA meeting.

This year, finding an artist has been more difficult, LaCharity said. Typically, he said, the process is completed by December, but the committee is still searching for an artist.

The student activity fee– which is used to support clubs, and other student activities—currently allocates $40,000 to spring week each year, according to LaCharity.

In their fundraising budget line, $16,000 is also set aside from previous ticket revenue.

“We have $56,000 which years ago would have gotten us a fantastic concert and now it’s like okay, let’s have a discussion,” he said.

A conversation about the future of the concerts has been occurring for some time, said Denise Bentley-Drobish, director of student involvement, at the meeting.

At one point, spring week concerts lasted much longer, but the cost was cheaper, she said.

“Now, we have artists that literally are performing for 40 minutes,” said Bentley-Drobish. “That’s what they are performing for, and their cost is $40,000 to 50,000.”

The committee has considered hosting other events, LaCharity said such as a carnival, if the options for artists do not seem as favorable to students.

For last year’s concert, which featured singer Jacquees, LaCharity said a little over 1,000 tickets were sold. In 2017, 3,000 tickets were sold to the A Boogie wit da Hoodie concert, and Bryson Tiller sold out the Lyman Center with about 1,500 tickets sold.

Currently, Bentley-Drobish said the university might not be allocating enough money to hire someone students would enjoy.

In addition, LaCharity said the committee has discussed hiring several smaller artists that could hold a concert amongst a bigger event, such as a carnival.

Money aside, he said the conversation has also focused on the type of language and message a hired artist may use.

“Being a social justice institution like what does it mean to bring an artist that will swear a lot and potentially degrade women, or whatever the lyrical content is,” LaCharity said. “We try to be really cognizant of that too.”

More money should not be allocated for an artist that might not be acceptable, said Carlos Lopez, SGA representative-at-large. “I just don’t think we need to have another mediocre concert,” said Lopez.

The body agreed to resume the discussion with the committee by their next meeting and will be reaching out to students about how they value the concert.

Photo Credit: August Pelliccio

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