BY KIERAN ROCK AND KELLY BURNS
ASST. FEATURES EDITOR AND ASST. A&E EDITOR/PRODUCTION EDITOR
Students may have voted for their top choices for a Jasper Days artist, but securing an artist is not as simple as that according to John Bennett, director of student activities.
Bennett said his office will be conducting negotiations with the artists over the next two months in an attempt to secure one of the top five choices from the student survey.
“Just because you want to go on a date with someone and you have the money, that doesn’t mean they’re going to say yes to you,” Bennett said of the negotiation process. The top five choices from the student poll are All American Rejects, B.O.B, Neon Trees, 3OH!3 and Matt and Kim.
“There’s this huge misconception that if XYZ band comes in first place they should be coming, and if they’re not coming it’s because Student Activities doesn’t want them to,” Bennett said. The reality is that securing an artist for Jasper Days is based on the artists availability first and then whether or not they want to perform at Manhattan College.
“We’re trying our hardest to get one of them [the top 5]. We have to sell [the idea of performing at] our school and we have to sell [performing in] Draddy,” he said.
The budget for Jasper Days is $120,000 according to Bennett. It has been this amount in years past as well, “It’s a monetary independence bill which means every year you get that amount and you don’t have to request it every year. Which is good because it secures the livelihood and makes sure it happens every year.”
Bennett also said that the artist is not the entirety of the budget. “The artist doesn’t use most of the budget for Jasper Days. It’s the largest single item, but it’s not the majority,” he said. Things like agent fees, professional sound companies, the tage and lighting are all major expenses that Bennett said students often overlook.
The Quadstock budget is less than $60,000. The total budget was used for Quadstock this year, featuring Boys Like Girls. Bennett pointed out that this, again, involved more than just paying the artist. “The artist cost the majority of that. The artist cost about 40,000 and then you have to add agent fees and all the sound and equipment. That’s a pro audio company…that’s another 10,000 that’s students don’t really think about,” he said.
For last year’s Jasper Days concert, the artists that performed were not the majority of the budget. “Kellie Pickler was in the $40,000 range and Craig Campbell was $10,000.”
Alexa Wroblewski, a sophomore, thinks the Office of Student Activities’ biggest challenge will be finding an artist that pleases everyone.
“I know the artist is always the biggest deal so if they choose someone the majority doesn’t like everyone will be mad like they were with Kellie Pickler,” Wroblewski said.
Bennett is not unaware of this challenge, either.
“There are 3,000 different favorite artists and there are 3,000 different iPod playlists on campus,” Bennett said.
In the student survey this year, there was a major split over the artists. “Even the top 5, not one of them got over 50 percent of the vote,” he said. The lowest voted option was student bands.
Bennett insisted that raising the budget for either Quadstock or Jasper Days would not change anything about either weekend, because big-name artists still would not come unless the school had a major venue and the entire student body would never be fully pleased by any artist.
Thomas Telschow, a senior, does not see a change in the budget as necessary either.
“They are spending money just to give us a good time. So, I can’t really expect them to spend more than that. What’s provided is more than enough to have fun,” Telschow said.
“So long as its a good time, I don’t care how much money they are spending,” he said.
For now, Student Activities will spend the next few months attempting to secure an artist for the Jasper Days concert. Bennett said he hopes to announce the artist by the end of the semester. “We have already started the process,” Bennett said, “we have started asking.”