All Campus Entertainment (ACE) announced early this morning that Kid Cudi will headline this year’s Homecoming concert on Nov. 5. ACE has allotted $81,000, its entire concert budget for the year, to the performance.
Due to widespread dissatisfaction after last year’s Spring Fling concert, ACE decided to reevaluate both the season of the concert and how it ultimately selects and pursues the main talent.
“Gym Class Heroes put on a good show [for Spring Fling], but it wasn’t the act everyone wanted. We wanted to try something new this year,” ACE president Jerusa Contee ’11 said.
First, ACE decided to move the main concert of the year from Spring Fling weekend to Homecoming weekend. Previously, ACE had thrown two smaller concerts on Homecoming and Winter Carnival, meaning that its available funds had already decreased by the time Spring Fling planning began.
“Having a spring concert is a risk because we’ve already spent money on two earlier concerts,” Contee said.
Contee also said that landing popular acts is more difficult in the spring. During the spring, many other colleges, often with bigger budgets and more accessible locations, have their large concerts and thus drive up demand and prices. Music festivals also keep many performers busy at that time.
In previous years, ACE had not received its yearly allocation from College Council (CC) until the beginning of the academic year, so it had been unable to plan a large concert early in the year. However, after Spring Fling, ACE went to CC and negotiated a spring allocation of concert funds, meaning ACE has had all summer to plan ahead.
“CC allocated us $81,000 in the spring, and we’ve decided to use all our money on this one concert,” Contee said. Funds will cover the talent, the opener, the cost of sound and additional facilities like portable toilets along with the commission for the agent ACE uses to secure the main performer. Contee explained that all revenue generated from the Homecoming concert will be used to fund possible Winter Carnival and Spring Fling concerts later this year.
Over the summer, ACE told its agent that it could spend between $50,000 and $65,000 on the main performer, taking into account that sound usually costs between $10,000 and $15,000. ACE then took the list of potential performers and pared it down, “looking for big names and diversity in sound,” Contee said.
Cudi was not the first performer to whom ACE submitted a bid. Originally, ACE bid for Passion Pit, but the band turned down the offer after “stringing us along for over a month,” Contee said. ACE then immediately submitted a bid for Kid Cudi, although negotiations between ACE’s agent and Cudi’s lawyers quickly grew complicated.
“Time was running out, so we decided that if Kid [Cudi] said no, we would just do a small concert,” Contee said.
Cudi’s contract with ACE was finalized only two weeks ago. The final talent bid was $52,500, which doesn’t account for the opening act or Cudi’s agent fees. This is the highest price that ACE has ever paid for talent.
“We were really focused on bringing an act that the majority of campus would appreciate … and the hard work put in over the summer with our agent really paid off,” said Chris Picardo ’13, co-president of ACE’s concert committee. “It should be an awesome night.”
ACE’s next concerns include ticket prices and purchasing availability.
Previously, tickets have been made available to local community members after students, faculty and staff have had the chance to purchase their own.
However, now that the concert will be on Homecoming, ACE is restricting sales to solely the Williams community.
“We will first be preferencing students, and then we’ll open up to faculty, staff and alumni,” Contee said.
ACE is also limiting sales to two tickets per student. Ticket prices for the concert have yet to be finalized.
Additionally, ACE has yet to determine where on campus the concert will be held, although it has been working with the College to try to guarantee the space with the largest capacity. Lasell Gymnasium is not an option as the floor is in the process of being renovated.
After the concert, ACE will meet to discuss plans for the rest of the academic year.
Depending on the revenue generated by ticket sales, as well as the amount left over from their original allocation, ACE may put on two small concerts, one medium concert or some other combination. “There’s a lot of leeway for the future,” Contee said.
Along with major changes to their concert planning, ACE has also undergone several other developments since last year. Due to new conditions introduced by the Neighborhood Review Committee, ACE is now the only campus group that can throw all-campus events. ACE has thus split its different areas of oversight into four committees: Stressbusters, First Fridays, concerts and general entertainment (GE). The concert committee, led by co-presidents Picardo and Thomas Daubert ’13, was central to the coordination of the Homecoming concert.The
funding came solely from CC’s $81,000 allocation.
The First Fridays committee, funded by the Office of Campus Life, has been working with the administration to find better programming spaces around campus. The capacity in Goodrich is only 330 people, and “we hate the lines as much as everyone else does,” Contee said. The committee has signed on to turn the former Greylock dining hall into an event space.
Stressbusters were previously under the purview of GE, which had few other roles since the Neighborhood Boards threw all-campus events. Now the smaller Stressbusters committee, funded by Campus Life, will be separate, while GE will be in charge of throwing larger parties and bringing comedians and other performers to the College. GE’s budget for the year is $30,000, of which $6000 is from the Neighborhood Boards, $4000 from Campus Life and $20,000 from CC.
“We’re excited to have the [full GE] committee back,” Contee said. “Now that we’ve gotten our allocation, we can start doing bigger events.”
With ACE’s larger role on campus, Contee would like to see the group’s membership grow accordingly. “There’s more for us to do now, so we want to build up to fit our new role,” she said.