The Student Association allotted $300,000 to entertaining students at fest productions for the 2022-23 academic year. This weekend’s Fall Fest cost the SA just over $215,000 — about 72% of their Fall Fest production budget, according to the SA’s general ledger.
Of that $215,425, $24,500 was spent on putting up fencing and barricades around the perimeter of the venue. This amount — 11% of Fall Fest expenses — was spent out of safety concerns, according to Tendaji Ya’Ukuu, SA’s assistant director of communications.
“[The cost] might be different than other years because it was a different space,” Ya’Ukuu said. “[Baird Point], I believe, is a different location from where they’ve thrown other fests. It’s different from the [Student Union] Theater, and you have to barricade the entire perimeter.
“With incidents that have happened in the past, the executive board and our professional staff really wanted to ensure the safety of students.”
But barricades were not the only safety expenditure the SA made. A combined $47,000 was spent on police, security and insurance. $20,000 was spent on tents for the concert.
While the ledger does not explicitly state how much was directly paid to artists, the amount is tied into the overall production costs on the ledger, according to Ya’Ukuu. The SA spent about $14,000 on services for the artists, which included car service and dressing rooms, among other provisions.
Additionally, $8,500 was spent on shirts for staff and attendees, $5,000 on the fireworks, and about $5,500 on “hospitality items.”
The remainder budget was spent on other costs, such as generators, ambulances, bussing services and more, with $4,925 being spent on porta-potties.
Ya’Ukuu attributed mixed student reviews of the concert to the scale of the event.
“Because we’re such a big school, students expect the experience to be at a certain level. The concerts they usually go to, like Coachella or other concerts, they spend millions of dollars. Us spending [about $200,000] is relatively cheap in comparison,” Ya’Ukuu said. “They were expecting dozens of artists and such big production for such a small value.”
Bringing in more expensive artists, Ya’Ukuu explained, was outside of the provided annual budget for the SA.
“To bring more expensive artists would go beyond that budget, and then other areas of the SA budget like advocacy and other events would then have to take a hit,” Ya’Ukuu said.
According to Ya’kuu, the SA will take a few months of hiatus before planning for Spring Fest. The remaining $85,000, or about 28% of the Fall Fest budget, is set aside for the concert, which has previously taken place in late April or early May.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article quoted an SA staff member as saying that the combined budget for both Fall Fest and Spring Fest was $300,000 and, based on that quote, reported that the SA had spent 72% of their total fest budget on Fall Fest. While the staff member in question was quoted accurately, the information contained in that quote was inaccurate. The SA's budget for just Fall Fest, not both concerts, was $300,000, of which the SA only used 72%. We regret this error.
Ria Gupta is an assistant news/features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ria Gupta is an assistant news/features editor at The Spectrum.