If you haven’t heard by now, which is unlikely, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis will perform in Lasell Gymnasium on April 14th. As a well-known artist, Macklemore has caused the All-Campus Entertainment (ACE) Concerts co-chairs to squeal like the birthday on which they finally got the pony they always wanted. The concert is being held on a Sunday because Macklemore, as an artist in high demand, had already been snatched up by larger schools like Harvard for more convenient nights. However, the show is designed to be the capstone of a revamped, week-long spring celebration, so hosting him on a Sunday should not be an issue.
Other than the fact that Macklemore’s hit song “Thrift Shop” can be heard blasting all over campus right now, ACE Concerts chose to bring Macklemore to the College after evaluating the survey filled out by students in the fall. The majority of respondents indicated that they would be willing to attend a concert if the artist was one with which they were familiar. This certainly applied to Macklemore, given that he was the artist specifically requested most in the comments sections. As far as genres go, the majority of survey participants indicated hip-hop/R&B or indie music. Macklemore is definitely one or both of those things. Awesomely enough, the cost of this concert has even managed to fall below the usual cost of an artist this high in demand.
The funds for this concert did not come out of thin air. ACE Concerts raised 42 percent of the funds from sources outside of College Council (CC), who provided the other 58 percent. In addition to assisting the cost of the concert, the help of various student groups also proves that Macklemore is a concert that the campus wants and is willing to throw its organizational weight behind. Substantial funds were gathered from Currier, Spencer, Wood and Dodd Neighborhoods, from Frosh Council, Williams After Dark, ACE, the Baxter Fellows and Dining Services. Even the price of tickets will be less than it has been in past years for large concerts. The price decided on is the amount that works best with the CC budget. CC voted to allow an exception to the ban on ticket charges, showing that this campus is willing to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to bringing high demand artists.
This concert came about as a product of renewed communication between CC and the ACE Concerts co-chairs. In addition to the aforementioned survey, CC was updated along every step of the way. This communication increase is not just a one-time thing. It’s not a “just-to-see-where-it-goes” thing either. It’s more of a “we’re-going-to-do-this-until-people-feel-uncomfortable” thing. So what does this mean for the future? It means that other surveys asking the student body what they want will both happen and be acted upon, as soon as late spring. The contents of this survey will be a direct reflection of the last year and the direction students feel concerts should go for the 2013-14 academic year. Feel free to talk about 3LAU, Macklemore, or the absence of an artist/genre you feel represents the interests of campus.
The method of asking the student body for guidance in building a concert seems to be a no-brainer, but it’s quite difficult to please everyone. I feel that this is the best way to choose acts because the former alternative, making statistically unguided judgment calls, seems like a bad idea when you have a structurally insular trinity of people deciding something so massive. Oddly enough, it’s far easier to say “this seems like something people will like” without asking for any survey information, since it’s just a guess. Guesses are easier than having to deal with public input. It gets more complicated when sifting through the data and reading the comments. Make no mistake, the decision is still a judgment call, heavily influenced by artist availability, cost and assessments of public performing ability. However, the input process guides the decision in a way that makes this method less of a blind guess and more of a multiple-choice test. We want to hear from the student body, even though it adds complication, as it also adds accuracy and hopefully satisfaction for everyone involved. ACE Concerts is here to serve you and advocate for performances that will give you intense satisfaction in the middle of a classically rigorous Williams semester. For this reason, ACE Concerts humbly present Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for your consideration. Let us know what you think.
Gabe Stephens ’15 is from Kendallville, Ind. He lives in Carter.