The George-Anne Media Group • April 14, 2015 • https://thegeorgeanne.com/8038/news/behind-the-scenes-the-making-of-a-spring-concert/
As you can probably imagine, it takes several months and many people to coordinate a successful spring concert and the University Programming Board (UPB) has been working hard once again to provide students with unique campus entertainment you cannot find anywhere else in town. From artist selection to risk management, we want to provide you a behind-the-scenes look into the making of a spring concert.
The University Programming Board first decides they would like to have a spring concert and gets permission to spend reserve student activity fees from the Student Activity Budget Committee, chaired by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management (SAEM). A budget is determined based on available funds. The UPB executive committee also decides what amount of their annual budget will be reserved for concert expense. In addition to artists’ fees, some of the costs include marketing, security, lighting and sound, custodial and hospitality. This is all part of the planning to determine how expensive a spring concert would be and ultimately helps determine the size of the venue and the ticket pricing in order to generate revenue to cover expenses. Since student activity fees make up part of the budget, students always get a discounted price and have opportunities to purchase tickets before the general public.
THE SELECTION PROCESS
Approximately eight to 12 months in advance, the UPB executive committee solicits a list of available artists that are touring through the Southeast and/or willing to perform in Statesboro, Georgia. This information is provided by a third-party agent at Babco Entertainment. The UPB board considers several factors when making the decision, including budget, artist popularity, previous ticket sales and student preference. To best represent all students, a list of artists from several genres including alternative, rap and hip-hop, R&B, country and pop are on the poll. This year’s poll closed on October 16, 2014 and students overwhelmingly chose Migos with 40 percent of the student vote. Working with Babco Entertainment, UPB made an offer to the students’ first choice. Had it not been accepted, the discussion would have continued for the second choice and so on.
Signage, posters, flyers, social media, radio advertising and television commercials all come at a cost, and the concert committee is advised by Marketing and Communications on which strategies produce the largest return on investment. This varies greatly with each concert and depends partly on the local market’s interest. UPB also utilizes ticket giveaways and meet-and-greet promotions to help motivate ticket sales. And of course promotional tables at the Union are always a favorite marketing tool.
Risk management is a vital part of planning any on-campus event and a concert is no exception. UPB goes through a process to avoid and/or reduce potential and perceived risks. This process involves assessing all things that could occur at an event including physical, emotional, reputation, financial and facilities risk. The goal of risk management is to ensure the UPB hosts an event where everyone has a safe and fun experience.
Georgia Southern’s Public Safety office advises the security strategy for each event. The number of uniformed and undercover officers is determined by the Chief of Police and arrangements are made with the city and county public safety departments. Most artists travel with their own security detail and they dictate minimum security requirements for areas around their transportation, dressing rooms, backstage and front of stage. All volunteers are trained in the security and safety measures for each event. Professional event staff are often hired to assist with maintaining order and ensuring the event is a success. Further measures such as bag checks, metal detectors and prohibiting anyone who is visibly under the influence of drugs or alcohol are always in place. If the officers feel there is imminent threat or danger, they will take action in order to keep attendees and performers safe.
Anywhere from 30 to 100 volunteers are used to cover ticket scanning, merchandise, guests relations, hospitality, VIP guests, concessions and more. Volunteers are composed of UPB members and professional staff from across SAEM. Days prior to the performance all volunteers, both students and staff, are trained on what they will be doing in their assigned positions. Volunteers are also responsible for the venue setup, stage-building and teardown.
UPB hosts a variety of events intended to provide all students with an opportunity to be entertained. Whether it’s the traditional homecoming events, late night movies, pageants, nights at the Clubhouse or bringing in special events such as hypnotists, comedians, interactive games and concerts, we take pride in providing something for everyone. Concerts are unique because there are so many factors that go into artist selection, venue and ticket pricing. Due to limited resources we cannot have concerts as often as we have other types of events. For this reason alone we hope all students attend each concert for the entertainment value they offer. The production is always big and everyone walks away having had a good time.