Possible Acts for Spring Concert Discussed

Press Image. Alicia Keys and Akon are leading contenders for UMBs Spring 2007 concert, but theres still time to voice your opinion.

Press Image. Alicia Keys and Akon are leading contenders for UMB’s Spring 2007 concert, but there’s still time to voice your opinion.

Taylor Fife

Just as winter is beginning to approach, Student Affairs is already prepping for the spring by starting plans for the Spring Concert. Last week, in its second meeting to discuss the concert, the committee responsible for planning the event looked through lists of possible artists. They attempted to narrow it down to just a few contenders that will have the chance to succeed Kanye West as UMB’s spring concert performer. To begin the selection process various students, mostly members of the Undergraduate Student Senate, passed out fliers to students around campus asking them to list the two bands they would most like to see. The polling was concentrated mostly in the cafeteria, but any interested students were free to participate by speaking to a senator or visiting the student life office. In addition, a Facebook group named “The Spring Concert” was created that any student could join and then vote for their favorite bands. Students polled in the cafeteria voted heavily for Jay-Z, as well as acts such as 50 Cent, Beyonce, Lil’ Wayne and Justin Timberlake. The Facebook group produced different results with Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers and The All-American Rejects topping the list. Comedians Dave Chappelle and Dan Cook were among the highest vote getters on both lists.Approximately 475 responses were received from the polling results while only about 75 votes were cast through Facebook. However, there was a strong possibility of double voting through the paper votes, while this was not allowed through online voting. Akon, Alicia Keys, All-American Rejects, Bob Dylan, Black Eyed Peas, Chris Brown, Christina Aguilera, John Legend, John Mayer, Ludacris, Pussy Cat Dolls, Sean Paul, Shakira, Snow Patrol, Taking Back Sunday, The Fray, and Usher also had strong showings in the votes. It is clear that the student body at UMB is extremely diverse in their taste of music, and coming to a consensus is no easy matter.This year’s spring concert will have a budget of approximately half of what last year’s $200,000 expenditure for Kanye West was. Most of the top vote getters are far too expensive to be considered. After discussing who students would like, who the university could afford and who would put on a good show, the committee narrowed the acts down to a select few. Most members of the committee felt that rap or hip-hop would best suit the campus and selected Akon, Alicia Keys, Shaun Paul, Chris Brown and Ludacris as artists to explore further. Some of these, such as Alicia Keys, would be headliners, while Chris Brown or Akon would co-headline with other acts. Other bands have not been completely removed from the table, but a rock artist is unlikely. All-American Rejects and Taking Back Sunday are the only guitar-based acts that have a chance of making it to UMass; both bands are well within budget and are currently seeking tour dates for the spring. Although official polling and brainstorming is now over, student input is still being solicited. Students are encouraged to bring their opinions and suggestions to student life, or student members of the committee, including Student Senators Juana Matias and Ulisses Varela. The attention given to the opinions and suggestions of students this year is a marked difference from the decision made nearly unilaterally by administration last year concerning Kanye West. Although the event packed the Clark Athletic Center, attendance at last year’s concert was lower than administration had hoped for.The new commitment to student involvement has been at many other levels besides the planning for the Spring Concert. The student senate, in an effort to understand the interests of the students, will be having an open forum at their next meeting where students can come and voice their concern over campus services such as the bookstore and the cafeteria. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, December 6 at 2:30 in the Ryan Lounge and the senate will be providing food as a further incentive to join the discussion.Chancellor Collins is also making a strong effort to listen to students by hosting monthly “no-agenda” lunches where students are invited to come and bring up any topic they would like. Administration will participate in an even more proactive approach to getting student input next semester with regards to dorms. Vice Chancellor Day is currently in the process of contracting an outside research company to poll and survey students on how they feel about building residence halls on campus.