Despite the high temperatures, every summer students shiver with anticipation of the announcement of the year’s Fall Fest lineup. This year, things have gotten heated.
In addition to the Student Association’s annual Fall Fest, another high profile festival will be taking place downtown. Tailor Made Festival, featuring last year’s Fall Fest headliner Travis Scott along with 2 Chainz, will take the stage on the same night that Lil Uzi Vert performs on North Campus at this year’s Fall Fest.
The concerts’ sets are scheduled to end at nearly the same time, ending around 10:30- 11:00 p.m. Whereas tickets for Tailor Made are available for roughly $67 with service fees, undergrads can receive Fall Fest tickets for free. SA’s annual fest is funded by the mandatory student activity fee of $104.75 per semester.
The dueling options are leaving some students to make difficult decisions, preferring one fest’s artist over another and taking the price to attend one show over the next into consideration. Tailor Made is making transportation easier for student concert-goers in the mean time. Admission to the show includes busing from both North and South Campus to the festival downtown.
“I’m going to Fall Fest because I’ve been a fan of Lil Uzi Vert since he was a SoundCloud rapper and I don’t have to pay [extra] to go,” said Obiorah Atuanya, a senior finance major. “The thing is, I’m still considering going to Travis Scott and 2 Chainz. Scott is one of the biggest artists out right now. So although Fall Fest is free, money’s not an issue and it’s a matter of where my friends want to go, too.”
Other students like Anna Lee Sadocha, a sophomore political science major, are going to Fall Fest and weren’t aware of Tailor Made Festival downtown.
“I haven’t heard of any of the other Fall Fest acts but it’s free, even with [Tailor Made] going on and with transportation to the festival [from campus], I still wouldn’t go,” Sadocha said. “I’m excited to see Lil Uzi Vert. His music is very enjoyable and I like the vibe he brings off.”
Tailor Made announced their lineup on Jul. 5, far before Fall Fest’s Aug. 16 announcement. Marc Rosenblitt, SA Entertainment Coordinator, said the organization didn’t have many dates available to use in Alumni Arena, Fall Fest’s rain location.
“Our Fest dates are really dictated by when we can get in there,” Rosenblitt said. “It takes us a full day to set up, a full day for the show, and most of the morning to tear down. That’s a lot of down time for the biggest room on the campus. We are always working with Athletics to try and get more options, but often we only get one or two choices.”
Despite working with departments like Athletics to coordinate availability for Alumni Arena, SA announced on Wednesday the festival will be outdoors. Fall Fest will be held at Baird Point, marking 2017 the first outdoor Fall Fest since 2014’s show featuring Schoolboy Q and T.I.
This year, SA only had two dates to choose from and with other campus services providers unable to support one of the dates, Fall Fest was left with the same date of Tailor Made.
Even with Tailor Made’s lineup announcement superseding Fall Fest, 2322 students picked up tickets as of 12:15 pm Wednesday. Roughly 13,000 to 14,000 available student and guest tickets are available for the fest, with over 4,700 having reserved tickets for the show as of Wednesday at noon.
In addition to including six alumni/student performers this year, SA’s addition of rock band New Politics to the Fall Fest line-up marks a change from past hip-hop/R&B-centric Fall Fests.
The move to add a rock band to the Fall Fest line-up reflects student polling data from SA, which revealed a high student interest in rock on campus.
However, SA isn’t the only entity working around music-goers’ interests.
Fanbassador, the company responsible for Tailor Made Festival, formed over a year ago with the intent of changing how artists are booked for events. For Tailor Made, the company gives concert-goers an atypical festival experience, allowing fans to vote from a variety of musicians who are available to perform.
Fanbassador CEO, Chris Ring, has been promoting concerts in Western New York for nearly 20 years. Tailor Made, however, is his first time booking a festival by himself.
Ring saw the lack of hip-hop shows in the Buffalo area toward the end of the summer, so he took action.
“It worked out really, really well. We had significant response from the fans for a company that’s basically brand new and a concept that’s brand new,” Ring said. “We had almost 5,000 people come to our website and vote. For a first-year company to have that kind of reaction, we were really happy.”
The big response to the first run of Tailor Made shows great promise for the festival as a future, annual success. The only problem is the other promoters who may schedule their own events on the same day – intentionally or otherwise.
Ring sees Fall Fest landing on the same day as a drawback for Tailor Made, but not a major one.
Even though the two festivals are occurring on the same day, Ring still has hope for a good turnout.
“We still think we’re going to do over ten thousand people,” Ring said. “Losing a couple thousand kids to UB’s Fall Fest is going to hurt but at the same time, it’s not making or breaking the show by any means.”
Fanbassador’s CEO hopes for Tailor Made to be a yearly event in the Buffalo community, and wishes that other promoters consider their event in the future.
“This festival at Canalside is our end of summer party that we want all university students to be a part of. To go up against a free hip hop show at UB, it’s not good for either of us,” Ring said. “We’d like to make this a labor day weekend tradition in Buffalo. Now that we’ve done this once, hopefully other promoters will know that this is going to happen again and plan their events accordingly.”
Benjamin Blanchet, David Tunis-Garcia and Brenton J. Blanchet are arts editors and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benjamin Blanchet is the senior engagement editor for The Spectrum. His words have been seen in The Buffalo News (Gusto) and The Sun newspapers of Western New York. Loves cryptoquip and double-doubles.
Brenton J. Blanchet is the 2019-20 editor-in-chief of The Spectrum. His work has appeared in Billboard, Clash Magazine, DJBooth, PopCrush, The Face and more. Ask him about Mariah Carey.