Many students believe the process of selecting a concert artist is super easy. A lot more goes into the process though than many people think. Through all the fun and excitement of choosing the artist, there is a bit of work involved! First, we need to decide whether or not we’re going to have one concert or two concerts during the year. When deciding this, I really have to look at the budget and the quality of acts we can afford. Many people think we have an unlimited budget for concerts and can bring acts like Eminem, F.U.N, or Blake Shelton. As awesome as this would be, these acts cost over $150K easily. About a year ago, the Black Eyed Peas were in the $150K range and they aren’t nearly as big as they used to be! Finding out how much each individual act actually costs is a huge shock. Even without having a budget of $150K, we still always are able to put on an amazing concert or two that students love.
After deciding on having one or two concerts, we have to decide the genre. Each genre of music has an average price depending on national popularity. Country being the most expensive due to it’s nationally popularity being highest. When choosing the genre, especially for campus concerts, I need to think of what will have the best attendance. I also try to do something we haven’t seen a lot of on campus. After the genre is decided, I contact an entertainment company, who is “the middle man” between the artist agents’ and I, and get a list of about 20 artists in our budget and genre choice. After a list is drawn up, I bring the list to CAB meetings and we pick about five artists we think would be successful on campus.
When we have the smaller list, it usually takes us about two weeks to decide on the final artist. To decide the final artist, we go over marketing options as well as whether or not the artist has performed or has performed nearby prior to the concert. We try to get artists who have not performed in towns close enough to Vermillion where students would go there to see them rather than stay in town. When the artist has been decided on, I fill out an artist offer. This is the official form that the artist’s agent receives that has all of the specific concert details on it. The agent has the option to either accept, decline, or change details about the offer.
When the offer is accepted, an official contract and rider are emailed to me. The contract is then given to the dean of students to look over and approve/change and then sent back to the agency. This is the LONGEST part of the whole process. Getting everyone to agree to a final contract can take longer than a month to do.
Once the contract is finally completed and agreed upon, we focus on the rider and giving out assignments for people to help with. A lot of organization and patience has to go into dealing with the rider because some of the things asked for by artists just seem so ridiculous. Last year, Mac Miller requested numerous bottles of alcohol and cigarettes as well as Haines t-shirts. Ridiculous right? We work with Aramark to get all of the required (and approved) items for the dressing rooms and tour bus.
The final step of the long concerts process happens the day of the show. This is the most rewarding part of the process. We arrange to pick up the artist at the hotel or airport if transportation is needed, if not, we wait for them to arrive at Slagle and make sure everything is ready for when they do arrive. Being able to listen to sound check, talk to the artist, and even their management team to learn about all he different stories from the road is extremely rewarding. It is also a great opportunity to network and make contacts for the future. After sound check is finished there’s usually just enough time to grab dinner before the show starts. Most artist’s usually perform for about an hour or so, while this is happening, I usually run around making sure everything is still going smoothly and occasionally get the opportunity to watch the concert from backstage with the rest of the CAB members. After the concert is finished, we usually are able to have a meet and greet with the artist before they head back to either the hotel or the road to go to their next show.
Being the CAB Concert Chair is the most exciting thing I’ve been able to do all through college. Being able to induce suspense throughout campus with who the next artist will be, hearing the buzz of who students think is coming, and finally seeing the reaction after the big announce is a great experience.