The College Union Board’s (CUB) recent concert, featuring Kevin Lyttle, sold only 300 of a projected 1,000 tickets. CUB’s Box Office covered the losses with its profits from previous events.
Stefan Hayden, CUB event coordinator who set up the concert, was not worried about the numbers. “If you can get one-fifth of the College to agree on one artist then you have an amazing show,” he said.
The Student Finance Board (SFB) had provided $25,000 to hire Lyttle, and CUB needed an additional $10,000 from ticket sales, priced at $10 each, in order to cover the expenses in setting up the concert, such as setting up a stage and curtains. Both students and CUB members seemed to agree that the lack of ticket sales had little to do with the quality of the event.
“We tried to create the dance atmosphere,” Regina Mahone, director of CUB, said in regard to purchasing supplies. This, in contrast to most past concerts during which students have been more interested in listening to the music than dancing. “Comparatively, more people were dancing at this dance party than the usual concert,” Hayden said.
Mahone said advertising was also well planned. A large billboard was placed in front of Brower Student Center and there were posters on every bulletin board on campus, chalk messages on the sidewalks, and mailbox stuffers delivered across campus. Even key-chain sized CD openers were distributed to help promote the concert.
“We do both passive (poster) advertising and actively talking with people,” Mahone said.
According to students, the biggest reason for the low attendance of the concert was not CUB’s setup, but the artist himself. Kevin Lyttle has only had one song receive major radio play, and is relatively new, so he hasn’t yet built up a following as an artist.
“I think CUB does a good job in general, but no one wants to see a concert for one song,” Kyle Bloom, sophomore philosophy major, said.
CUB members said the organization is unable to afford any acts beyond those artists who are up and coming, or whose popularity has faded. “Over the past 10 years, prices have risen. Extremely popular artists are out of our price range,” Hayden said.
While a decade ago big name acts like comedian George Carlin were possible, the prices of popular performing artists have risen much faster than funding for student activities, he said.
Despite this, most students are pleased with the shows that CUB offers. Last year’s event featuring John Leguizamo and Dave Chapelle’s appearance two years ago are both well remembered.
CUB encourages students to visit concertideas.com, a Web site that features the prices of various artists. There, it becomes apparent just how expensive big-name acts tend to be, but it is also a good place to check for any smaller acts that students want to see on campus.
Despite the financial loss the concert caused, CUB is not worried. Of the ticket sales, Hayden said “If you’re going straight by the numbers, it was less than expected.” Still, CUB was able to take only a minor loss from the low ticket sales. Hayden said the goal of 1,000 was the hope, not the absolute projected amount.
The original projected cost of $41,000 was cut to $35,000, and the money that was taken from the Box Office fund is not a problem. As SFB has wanted CUB to use up the extra funds in the Box Office.
In the end, the concert proves to be only a small problem to CUB. It hopes that more students will become involved with suggesting idea for concerts, as it is a long process that involves a lot of input. “We started planning for this concert last year,” Mahone said. CUB’s weekly meetings are open to the public, and anyone who has an idea can voice it.
CUB wants any students with potential concert ideas to either e-mail them through its site or visit its office in the office of Campus Life in Brower Student Center. While the Kevin Lyttle concert appealed to one group of students at the College, CUB seeks to continue offering a variety of events that will provide entertainment for everyone on campus.