UB Student Association remains hopeful for Fall Fest Concert Series after low turnout

SA president and entertainment coordinator discuss first concert

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While 1,300 students picked up tickets for this year’s first Fall Fest Concert Series show, roughly half of the students attended the concert. 

SA’s annual Fall Fest previosuly consisted of one show. Last year’s fest brought roughly 4,000 students to Baird Point and over 6,000 students reserved tickets to 2016’s show in Alumni Arena.

But during the Sept. 21 show this year, although SA President Gunnar Haberl said 1,300 students held tickets and 1,500 reserved them, roughly 600 students filled the 1,744 seats in the Center for the Arts. 

Haberl said he viewed the first concert as a success regardless, and looks forward to the remaining shows in the series. Haberl pointed toward some of the difficulties SA faced with the format change and said he sees the show as something to learn from.

“For us being in the CFA, I think there are improvements that we can make to the student experience in the CFA,” Haberl said. “One of the things I’m working on for the second show is mitigating the theatre feel of it ... overall, students were closer than they ever have been to artists while they were performing. Overall, I’m pleased with how the show went.”

Haberl said SA is working on a survey to pinpoint student interests for Spring Fest. Haberl said that Spring Fest will remain unchanged in format from previous years, and the survey will be used to narrow down a genre.

Marc Rosenblitt, SA’s entertainment coordinator, discussed the change in format as well as plans for the future. Rosenblitt said that while attendance for the first concert was disappointing, the new format holds potential.

“The reality of a CFA show [is] we’re only responsible for artist management ... we don’t have to deal with all the staffing [or] build the venue,” Rosenblitt said. “We’re trying to push the greater variety in performances ... that’s the goal.”

SA spent $115,500 dollars on talent for the first show in the concert series and $51,500 dollars on production, according to Rosenblitt. 

Rosenblitt also discussed the savings associated with changing the fest format. He said holding shows in the CFA costs a tenth of what production would cost for a traditional fest.

Haberl noted the potential difficulty facing next year’s e-board with budget and planning. He also questioned the underlying motivations that bring students out to both fests each year.

“I’m not sure if students go out to these concerts for the talent. ... I’m wondering if students go out to these concerts for the party atmosphere of the concerts,” Haberl said. “If that’s the case, is it wise to spend over $600,000 of student fee money to throw a party? That’s a question next year’s executive board will have to answer.”

When SA announced the format change, many students reacted with mixed views on social media. Students said they felt the Student Association should have been more transparent with the decision process and said there should be more student representation in the choices. Haberl acknowledged these issues, but felt students should keep an open mind.

“I think a lot of students that were hating on the series need to come out and see what it’s like first before making comments,” Haberl said. “Sometimes people are hesitant to change, yet sometimes change can be a good thing. ... We announced the series and everyone hated on it on Twitter. People are so quick to jump to conclusions without attending. Once you have that circulating, it’s hard to convince someone otherwise.”

Brian Evans is the senior arts editor and can be reached at brian.evans@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @BrianEvansSpec.

BRIAN EVANS


Brian Evans is a senior English major and The Spectrum's senior arts editor.