Due to unexpectedly late contract negotiations, the Third Eye Blind concert cost $10,709.91 more than the $59,500 All Campus Entertainment (ACE) had anticipated paying. The final cost was $70,209.91, according to Ali Barrett ’09, president of ACE, who asked for and received the extra funds from College Council, Campus Life and the Dean’s Office.
Assistant Director of Campus Life Jess Gulley worked on the contract with ACE and Concert Ideas, Inc., a middleman for concert planning. Shortly before spring break, she faxed the contract to Concert Ideas in order to finalize the document. Concert Ideas returned the contract in the second week of the break with unexpected addendums. The band finally signed the contract on April 11.
The contract contained several extra stipulations. The band required catered meals as opposed to food buyouts. To keep things cheap and easy, the College generally opts for a food buyout, in which groups receive a specific dollar amount per person per meal instead of catered or delivered meals. Instead, for Sunday’s concert, ACE paid for catering for 22 crew and band members, which amounted to $1,274.50. Hospitality, including dressing rooms and amenities, cost $750.
The band also demanded a larger stage – four to five feet in height – as opposed to the three-foot-high stage the College usually uses. Because it was not possible to add risers to the original stage, the College made the decision to rent staging at the last minute. Furthermore, concerned that there would not be enough students to help complete the setup, Campus Life booked a professional crew for both setup and cleanup. Between the rental, set-up and load-in and load-out of the stage, the College paid an extra $6,326.31.
In order to cover the additional costs, Barrett and Teri Hoffman ’10 of the ACE concerts committee approached CC on April 16. Campus Life had agreed to match whatever contribution CC made. As a result, both granted the concert planners $5,250. The Dean’s Office contributed $200 in support of the Spring Fling concert and may add more this week, according to Gulley.
Rachel Levy ’09, treasurer of CC, said that CC allocated its payment from the General Fund, the account that serves student organizations. This supplements the $82,000 ACE received from the fund for the 2007-8 year, $5000 of which was used to pay off debts incurred the previous year.
CC did not begrudge ACE the funds. Rather, Levy commended ACE for taking early action. “It was really responsible of them to come to us before the money was spent,” she said. “Given the very unique situation, we did not want to penalize the campus’ social life by forcing ACE to cover all of the added costs.”
To fund the other half of the add-on bill, Campus Life used the last of the money in the Class of 1978 Endowment for Paresky and Goodrich and money from the Paresky Programming Committee, Gulley said.
Given the circumstances, Campus Life was also willing to help ACE. “By no means is this anyone’s fault. Not the students’, not mine, and not the band’s,” Gulley said. “It was truly unexpected based on other large concerts we’ve produced in the past. An incredibly popular band – most popular in the ’90s – requires more speakers, equipment and lighting. The more extensive the production, the more expensive the event is. ”
“Nothing on this scale has happened to us before,” said Barrett. “It is a very different situation with a band of this popularity and caliber.”
A subcommittee in Campus Life, the Contract Committee, is reviewing the booking process with Gulley in order to discuss implementing changes. For future events, a CC stipulation will have students vote for the musical act before winter break. The initial bid placed through Concert Ideas will contain certain stipulations and extra information, specifying up-front the size and layout of the venue and the resources at the College’s disposal. Also included in the Contract Committee’s review will be a timeline for reviewing and returning contracts for both the College organizers and the band.
“We and ACE agree that getting contracts earlier will help the booking process,” said Jeremy Goldstein ’09, CC co-president. “We understand that there are circumstances out of their control, and we realize what a strange position they were in.”
Barrett expressed her belief that the organization is moving its booking process in the right direction, and that ACE will likely be able to bring more big-name performances.
“We were really excited for this show,” Barrett said, “I think everyone who worked hard will see that work paid off. It was a learning experience, and I hope we will have the resources to allow this kind of show to happen the future.”