Bringing spring concerts back


Boys Like Girls performing at the 2011 Spring Concert.

Alissa Woockman, Staff Writer

WSC students get excited when they hear the word spring. But think about how even more excited people get when you add the word “concert” to it.

Now that we have been without one for a couple years, students are wondering why the concerts stopped and if there is a concert in the future for WSC.

It looks like there will be no spring concert for 2014. But as for 2015, student organizations S.A.B and Student Senate plan to bring it back around.

The spring concert is an event that began as far back as 1972. Since then S.A.B has hosted a variety of popular bands as well as comedy acts and comedians. Big names like Adam Sandler, All American Rejects, Goo Goo Dolls, Blake Shelton and Jason Aldean have all ventured on the Wayne State campus.

“Through the years we have had a number of acts who have been on the way up or at the top of their popularity,” Frank Teach, retired Student Activities Director of 40 years, said.

Back when the concerts first started, the event might cost only $3,000. These days, that budget is rapidly increasing as the S.A.B is itching to acquire big names to grab student interest. The going rate for concerts has recently been as much as $70,000, which includes all the production, venue and performer travel costs.

The main reason that prevents concerts from being held every year: expenses.

Student Senate remains the deciding factor on how much money is designated to S.A.B every year for a spring concert.

“S.A.B has decided to make the spring concert every other year with a spring carnival substituting in-between,” Katie Mann, current S.A.B president, said.

“We have set aside $30,000, in addition to $30,000 next year towards a spring concert for a total of $60,000,” Alyssa Bish, Student Senate President, said.
The concert is funded through the student activity fee which is allocated by the Student Senate and planned through S.A.B. Skipping the last few years of concerts has allowed money to accumulate in an even larger budget.
“This will allow us to have a bigger band come and perform,” Bish said.

“That is a lot of money to go toward one event, so we want to make sure that we get a good turn-out by bringing someone students actually want to see,” Bart Carithers, current Director of Student Activities, said.

To help cover the extra cost of hosting such events, the student activity fee was established in 1970, primarily to allow the student activities board to provide students with major concerts as well as other form of entertainment like movies and socials. This money is then given to Student Senate to distribute annually to various campus organizations.

The amount of the fee and where it is allocated varies from year to year, but currently the college’s student activity fee requires every student to pay $4.25 for every credit hour. There is also a college event fee which requires $9.50 per credit hour to support college sponsored events like what S.A.B puts on for students.

For a full-time student with 12 hours this comes to a total of $330 every year for each student for entertainment purposes.

As far as the planning for these concerts goes, there is a lot more work that goes into a concert than deciding the entertainment. They have to deal with agents, record companies and contracts. This makes the planning a year-long process.

“It takes a lot of work to put on a concert. It’s not just getting the groups here but also setting up the lighting and sound equipment as well as working with agents and their contracts,” Teach said.

The source of these campus events comes from NACA (National Association for Campus Activities), the primary source for campus engagement. They provide colleges with direct contacts to a variety of agencies, firms and entertainment acts. S.A.B members usually attend these conferences every year to book several acts, like the hypnotist Sailesh and the various Comedy Caravan comedians.

When it comes time for next year’s concert, Student Senate will more than likely take a vote or they will decide together with the collaboration of S.A.B. They will narrow down a list of performer options depending on who is currently touring and the decided date.

“No specific plans have been put in place for next year yet but we are hoping to start from scratch,” Carithers said.

S.A.B will begin the planning process in September by asking input from students on the type of genre they would like to see performed at spring concert.

“Being in Nebraska, most students are big country fans, but some students here don’t like country. So it’s hard to please everyone when deciding on a band,” Mann said.

From that input, they will compose a list of which groups that fall within those genres and within the budget. Depending on who will be touring or available next spring, the Student Activities office will work with a booking agent to contact these acts and designate a date. The event will most likely be held next March or April.

“We will solicit input from students and do our best to represent their interests,” Carithers said.

With all the big names that have been on campus, S.A.B is hoping to keep up that tradition and get some popular performers.

“What made it possible for us to get some of these larger acts was the fact that they knew we would treat them right,” Teach said. “We had a lot of people to help out with the set-up and make sure all their needs were met.”

“A larger-scale concert always adds excitement on a college campus,” Carithers said. “It is something students can look forward and a great way to bring the entire campus together to celebrate the end of a successful year.”

Aside from what has happened in the past, both organizations are confident that holding off on a big event this year will allow for more planning and resources for the concert in the future.

“We always want student input to make these events more enjoyable,” Bish said.

Plans are still in motion for a concert for 2015. In the meantime, this spring students will simply have to enjoy the warm weather that comes with spring.