ACE finalizes contract with The Roots

On Sunday, April 19, the College and All Campus Entertainment (ACE) will welcome The Roots for Spring Fling 2009 at Towne Field House. For the second consecutive year, the student body voted on the main act. This will be the second performance by The Roots at the College after their first in May 2003.

The Roots, whose core members hail from Philadelphia, Pa., are famed for their eccentric and ever-evolving mélange of hip-hop, jazz and other musical influences. The “Legendary Crew” was originally formed in 1987 and has released eight albums since their debut “Organix” dropped in 1992. They have amassed six Grammy Awards and were deemed by Rolling Stone magazine in 2003 one of the “twenty greatest live acts in the world.”

The band was selected this year out of a group of artists including hit pop group MGMT, alternative icon Ben Folds and start-up Estelle, among other options. The Roots were chosen by a surprisingly sizeable margin over MGMT, a group that has become incredibly popular over the past year.

According to ACE representative Brian Shepherd ’11, ACE was able to look into bringing in some bigger names like The Roots this year thanks to the $17,500 it acquired from College Council for concerts. This money came from a campus-wide vote that took place in the fall to determine how to spend $35,000 that the Council found from defunct student groups. The student body voted to spend half on ACE concerts and the other half on the 1914 Library.

The final concert decision remained untainted by the ever-looming economic crisis because the ACE budget consists of money from the student activities tax paid by each student at the beginning of the year. According to Shepherd, the budget was allocated last year before the crisis rocked the country and the College.

The ticket price has yet to be nailed down as ACE is still looking for extra funding for the concert, but Shepherd said that it would not exceed $20. “A little over 75 percent of the Williams students polled agreed that they would spend up to $20 to see their first choice on stage,” he said. “So we are comfortable charging that price but are doing everything we can to lower it.”

Another matter of concern still up in the air is the opening act. Shepherd said that ACE will choose an act within the week, but could not disclose any information about the potential choices. Nonetheless, Shepherd is optimistic about the performance. “I feel that I can promise that this will be the best show we have had on campus,” he said. “We are really excited at ACE and feel that the entire campus is excited about the concert.”