Every spring and fall semester students look forward to the announcement of the performers of the semester concerts, but something that many do not understand is the process to get these artists and performances to the ARC or the Student Center Ballroom.
“The beginning steps are two fold, one side is we reach out to students to see what they want whether it be a specific genre, artist or atmosphere,” said Matan Cohen, 21, a senior sports management major and Vice President of Concerts and Comedians for UPB.
The second step, according to Cohen, is to decide which performers Slippery Rock can afford and if there are facilities available to hold the concert. Cohen said when discussing the facilities they have to make sure they can hold at least 8,000 students and can be shut down for 24 hours straight. They give Facilities eight possible concert dates, and then Facilities returns with a narrow date list of three to four dates.
With those narrowed down dates UPB then contacts their agent who is in contact with recording agencies and artists.
“Our agent has been with SRU for 12 years and is in charge of Taylor Swift and Luke Bryan concerts, so he understands all that goes into creating a great show,” Cohen said.
The agent then reaches out to different agencies and labels with the dates and budget to find a performer. According to Cohen, the budget is between $40,000 and $50,000 for the fall concert and between $80,000 and $100,000 in the spring. What students are not always aware of is that the budget is the same every year.
When it comes to picking the artists, that step begins when artists send possible performance dates and prices. It is a little easier to get performers when they are on tour, or in route, instead of having them fly-in for a concert. UPB usually gets a list of artists they can choose from, according to Cohen, then the student committee made up of 70 members all discuss together who would be the best artist.
“Some factors include if they can fill up the facility, the price of the tickets, and whether or not we can afford more than one of the artists listed,” Cohen said. Once the decisions have been made then it is a back and forth negotiation with the artist’s managers and agents over the price.
“In the end timing is huge,” Cohen said when it comes to not only the budget but also seeing if schedules match up, especially with an artist’s tour schedule.
There is a lot of work and contracts that are passed between UPB and the performers, even the decision of when and how the announcement of the concert is up to the manager and the artists, Cohen said.
This is just the process of deciding who the performers will be and how to get them here, but there is another step when the concert day has arrived.
“On the concert day we have to set up the stage, build the dressing rooms and follow the exact requests of the artists,” Cohen said. “Sometimes those include extra t-shirts, to Reese’s Cups, and even deodorant.”
Every semester, there is a concert that many students love, some not so much, but many do not know the hard work, effort and time on the committee’s end that goes into creating a great concert, Cohen said.
SRU will be welcoming hip hop artists Juicy J and Wale this spring.