By Kiley Krzyzek
The annual announcement of CCSU’s Spring Concert artists often brings grumblings of complaint from the student body, who may be unaware of the forces that shape the decision on who to pick.
Tickets for the Spring Concert featuring three rap artists – Ab-Soul, A$AP Ferg and Joey Bada$$ – and 3lau, a DJ, went on sale after the announcement at the Snowball Dance in the beginning of February. The acts were chosen by the Student Government Association (SGA) and Central’s Activity Network (CAN) back in the fall.
Many factors go into choosing the acts with finances being the main one.
“The executive boards of CAN and SGA sit down together and figure it all out. Usually we start meeting in early October and we sit down and kind of figure out what our budget is. For CAN it’s a very set budget. They don’t have any wiggle room really. SGA decides what they can take out of our reserve account. What acts are in our price range really kind of narrows it down for us,” explained Brian Choplick, president of SGA.
“CAN gives about $56,000, which comes from the Student Union Board of Governors and that money is our investment. We don’t get any of it back. SGA will do the other half. We’re not there to make a business out of it. It’s there so we can keep supplying the concert,” said Michelle Zohlman, president of CAN.
CAN and SGA also try to gauge what kind of music the student body likes primarily using a survey that was on collegiate link, an online network used for connecting with clubs and organizations on campus.
The questionnaire allowed students to pick their favorite genre of music from a list and answer an open-ended question: “Any suggestions on what you’d like to see on campus?”
“Overwhelmingly, every year, it comes out that they want hip hop,” said Choplick, who explained that the survey was hosted during CAN’s welcome week events at the beginning of the semester.
“This year was the first time our survey was on the link. 3,000 people are signed up to use the link. In the past we’ve done a paper survey. It’s only been in our welcome week carnival, which is the first two weeks of school. This year we had it at the carnival, we had the computers and the tablets to sign up and we also had it at our events at welcome week and as well as it was available online so anyone could take it and it was advertised,” said Zohlman.
CAN acknowledges that not everyone may be happy with the choices for the concert and is open to suggestions on how to improve.
“You can’t please 10,000 people and I know some people are going to have negative comments and say they didn’t see the link thing but we had it up for a few weeks. But we are looking for people who can think of ways to do it better,” said Zohlman.
Of the 174 people who filled out the collegiate link survey, 48 voted for hip hop/rap and 47 voted for the pop category.
“But even though it might not have been as large of a quantity as people may like I think that the numbers still tell what the past seven years have been: hip hop is what the people want. And it doesn’t mean when we go through the process we exclude anything,” ensures Zohlman.
There were also various write-in suggestions.
“The intention of it is that somebody might mention somebody that we haven’t really thought of. I know that during last year’s process, Kendrick Lamar’s name actually came up so we’re always just looking for the student body to suggest someone who we may not know of,” explains Choplick.
To try to predict the future, the organizations took a look at the past. Rap has been the winner for the past seven consecutive years.With the majority of people in favor of hip hop/rap over pop, it was justifiable for the committee to make those choices, especially when considering cost.
“We did look at both but having pop is difficult. Once they have one hit they probably want up to $50,000. We try to do the best for our money and also who we think is going to do well in the long-term. We start thinking [of who to sign] by September and by October we start acting. You almost have to try to see the future. It’s fun to do from our perspective but it’s nerve-wracking,” explained Zohlman.
Tickets are $15 for full-time students, $20 for part-time and graduate students and $25 for guests and can be purchased at the Centix Box Office located at the Student Center’s Information Desk.
“And there are four acts,” emphasized Ashley Anderson, vice president of SGA. “And it’s only $15 [for full-time students]. So four acts for $15 is pretty good.”
There is no cut off date for ticket sales; they will be on sale only until there are no more left.
Ticket sales are important, but the main priority is for those in attendance to have a good time.
“I do hope that the students there enjoy themselves and have a really great time. It’ll be if not just as good but better than last year, ” promises Zohlman.
The 2013 spring concert was very successful with Steve Aoki and Kendrick Lamar.
“Last year there was a really good turn out with a mix of a rap artist and a DJ and that’s kind of what we’re doing again this year. With last years spring concert, Kendrick Lamar, when they first chose him, he wasn’t popular yet. And then ‘Swimming Pools’ came out and by the time it was announced everyone was pumped,” said Anderson.
The student government is hopeful that by the time the concert rolls around the popularity of the acts will spike again.
“Some of the artists have been featured on bigger artist tracks. The people who follow that kind of music know them. We have the talent booked by the first week of November. So that’s pretty far out that we have to plan for,” said Anderson.
The up and coming acts have already started to get noticed.
“So that’s the really cool thing about concerts here at CCSU. You’re going to see somebody, and a year later they’re going to be huge and you’re going to be able to say you went to see them before anybody else,” added Choplick.
“To be honest, I didn’t know any of these people when we picked them but I’m going to go because it’s always a good time anyway,” said Anderson.