Students sound off about concert turnout

Patient Brand New fans subjected to line cutters
by Chris Payne
WTSR Music Director

When the College Union Board (CUB) announced it had booked Brand New, one of the most dynamic bands in rock today, for the spring Welcome Back Concert, I thought it was too good to be true. For me and hundreds of others, it was, in fact, too good to be true.

A lot of people like Brand New. Even people who don’t go to the College. So wasn’t it nice that CUB made it possible for non-students to enter?

Two tickets were alloted per student ID, and only College students were permitted to purchase tickets. A non-student didn’t even need a friend on campus to get inside. No less than three non-students lobbied for the extra ticket I would have been able to purchase.

But I didn’t even get a chance to play favorites. Despite showing up more than an hour before tickets went on sale, my place in line didn’t even reach the marble steps of Kendall Hall, as a significant crowd was turned away, many of whom were College students.

I like to be polite in line, so even when I saw countless prospective ticket-buyers bypassing the back of the line for acquaintances with a better position, I didn’t cut, figuring Campus Police would be there to prevent this.

As it turned out, the vast majority of police were stationed near the doors and did little to stop the many guests with kindergarten-level senses of courtesy. Fortunately, the police had saved enough energy to turn away the hundreds of students who would be denied entrance later on.

If you helped someone who was not a student at the College get into the concert, I suggest you call him or her the next time you need an elaborate favor done. Thanks in part to the $101.50 student activity fee each full-time student of the College pays as part of tuition, non-students got to see a great concert for a measly $5.

If you’re like me, you were just a good citizen doing your part in letting your tuition go toward the entrance of students from Rutgers University, Rider University, local community colleges and high schools, while getting to go home at 8:30 p.m. after waiting in line for several hours.

Just late to get in line you say? Allow me to speak for countless other students at the College when I say CUB said tickets would go on sale at the Kendall Hall doors at 7 p.m. There were no warnings or the slightest acknowledgment that those showing up at that time might be in for a surprise. For the record, my showing up at 5:45 p.m. was not any better.

I should mention there were two Facebook messages sent out reminding guests cameras would not be allowed inside the concert.

I won’t even belabor the point of another potential concert facility that would have had more than enough space to hold the entire line and then some. Had the concert been held in the Student Recreation Center, like the Guster and Third Eye Blind shows of years’ past, perhaps each student could have brought two non-tuition paying outsiders to see Brand New for less than the price of lunch in the Brower Student Center.

But none of this makes sense. It’s probably all just sour grapes over not getting to see one of my all-time favorite bands.

If you did, however, find yourself in the same situation last Friday night, I suggest you petition CUB for some sort of a concession, or at least demand no one outside of students, faculty, employees and alumni of the College can gain entrance the next time they decide to hold a Rec. Center-sized event on the Kendall Hall main stage.

Brand New’s popularity is worthy of the Rec. Center
by Drew Rebelo

Many of you know Brand New played a show at the College on Jan. 23. Those of you on line know how terribly it was set up.

Every concert I have ever been to has sold tickets in advance. If the College Union Board (CUB) had done it this way, it would have seen Brand New is a popular band and will easily sell out a venue like Kendall Hall. Then it could have moved it to the Student Recreation Center and been able to accommodate everyone.

I got on the line at around 5 p.m. – two hours before the doors were supposed to open. At 8 p.m., I was told there were no more seats. I missed the cut by about 40 people. There were about 300 people behind me who didn’t get in. I honestly could not see how far back the line went. There is no way this should have happened.

I also am positive there were less than 500 people in front of me when I got on line. I know Kendall can seat 837 people. More than 300 people cut in front of me throughout the three hours I was there.

If CUB is going to make people wait outside in sub-40 degree weather for hours – which is ridiculous – they should have been well-organized. Not until around 7:30 p.m. did Campus Police start patrolling and preventing people from cutting.

Why didn’t CUB do what I suggested? The ideas are not difficult to come up with. How can the College actively try to not make more money by having the show in the Rec. Center?

Did anyone do research to check on their album sales? “Deja Entendu,” Brand New’s sophomore release, has sold more than 500,000 copies. The band has more than 300,000 friends on their MySpace. Did CUB check the Facebook group for this event, which had more than 800 people listed as attending? These were all tell-tale signs CUB was proceeding the wrong way.

CUB also offered each College student the option of bringing a guest. With Kendall seating 837, and assuming everyone brought a guest, did CUB truly think only 418 of the College’s more than 6,000 students would be interested in attending?

CUB also only charged $5 for the show. The strategies don’t match up here. When you lowball the price for something, you do it in anticipation of higher sales. CUB did this, but then held the show in a small, seated theater that did not have enough seats to meet the demand it fostered.

I cannot put into words how disappointed I am at how this event was run. The four guests in my group traveled from as close as 45 minutes away to as far as Long Island and could not get in. We were all wary of attending this event, knowing the circumstances in advance, but Brand New is one of our favorite bands. Not going was not an option. I know I am not alone in feeling this way as I could hear the voices of disappointment and disgust from others as I walked back to my car.

Whoever was on the planning committee for this show should seriously reconsider participating in future CUB-sponsored events. CUB’s purpose, according to its Web site, is to provide “a variety of educational, social, recreational and cultural program . for the whole campus community to enjoy.” I think it is safe to say it failed miserably in this regard.

After the event, I found a set list from the show. Brand New played four songs off their debut, “Your Favorite Weapon.” To those hardcore fans out there, you know this is not something that happens often. I was robbed of this show, and I am angry about it.

For everyone in line that didn’t get in, you have the right to feel the same way. You pay this school more than enough money. You deserve a fair opportunity to attend the events that take place here. Hopefully CUB has realized its mistakes, or someone will read this piece and perceive the mistakes.

This is my last semester, so I don’t have to worry about future events. For everyone who’s still here, don’t let this happen again. Get involved. Make your time here worth it.

Sources: www.tcnj.edu/~arts/facilities/kendall, www.tcnj.edu/~CUB, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deja_Entendu, www.myspace.com/brandnew, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_college_of_new_jersey, http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=821852