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Group considers bands for annual spring concert

Sara Felsenstein | Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Talk of the upcoming Student Union Board (SUB) spring concert has been floating around campus due to a survey recently sent around Facebook asking students to rank their preferences of seven artists of different musical genres. 

MGMT, Girl Talk and Dropkick Murphys are some of the artists listed as possibilities for the concert. 

Mallory Davidson, co-director of programming, said SUB is trying to break from the Notre Dame tradition of mainstream rock concerts and diversify the types of bands they bring to campus. 

“SUB is certainly trying to bring an artist of a different genre,” junior Marie Wicht, co-programmer of concerts, said. “In past years we’ve had rock-type bands like Jack’s Mannequin, Cartel and OK Go … [and] we have also hosted rapper Lupe Fiasco and alternative artist Citizen Cope.”

Planning for the upcoming spring concert began last April, Wicht said. 

“We [first compiled] a long, long list of possible performers and genres,” she said. “The genres consisted of everything from country to rap, mash-up to coffeehouse rock and Irish rock to techno. After narrowing down to a few artists in each genre, we proceeded to look up agent information to inquire on pricing and availability.” 

Wicht and co-programmer of concerts Brian Hagerty are in charge of picking talent based on student preferences, contacting agents and working to determine possible groups that will stay within SUB’s allocated budget. 

Wicht said one of the biggest difficulties of planning the concert is finding just one or two artists that would appeal to the wide majority of students at Notre Dame. She said even within SUB’s concert planning committee, it is difficult to get everyone to agree on a single artist or even genre of music. 

“It is because of this that we released the recent SUB concert survey requesting that students rank their preferences … based on genre and an artist,” Wicht said. “Thanks to the many responses to this survey, we are now basing our final decisions on these student preferences.”

Kid Cudi, Girl Talk, MGMT, Dropkick Murphys, Zac Brown Band, Vampire Weekend and Brett Dennen are the artists included in the survey. Many students have expressed excitement about the proposed artists, Wicht said.

“I’d love to see Kid Cudi or Dropkick Murphys,” junior Colleen Coleman said. “Girl Talk would be awesome as well, but I would enjoy seeing an individual or a group actually perform rather than someone who is basically a DJ.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Girl Talk, but experiencing an act performing live is such a great experience.”

Junior Casey Cockerham said he thinks MGMT is most popular on campus out of the seven suggested acts. 

“I think MGMT would be the best show,” he said. “They are well known with Notre Dame students. In second place I would vote for Dropkick Murphys. A rowdy Irish band will draw a crowd at Notre Dame.”

The survey also asks students if they would be willing to pay $20 for a ticket to this year’s SUB concert, as opposed to the $15 that tickets cost in previous years. 

“Traditionally [tickets have] been $15 and haven’t been higher,” Davidson said. “We’re trying to figure out if students would pay the five extra dollars, but we’re going to shoot for the 15.”

Davidson said the artists’ prices have been on the rise over the last few years, but SUB’s budget has remained static, which is why ticket prices may need to be adjusted. 

“We are really trying to find the best act available for the money we have,” Hagerty said. “While it would be wonderful to be able to book huge acts like Taylor Swift, Jay-Z or Dave Matthews Band, there isn’t nearly enough money in our budget to make that happen.  So we have to try to find the best acts at the right prices who will appeal to the most amount of students.” 

The concert will be held in Stepan Center, most likely towards the end of the semester, Davidson said. 

“We aren’t sure of [who’s coming] yet because of artist availability and budget constraints,” she said. “We’re trying to get things coming along here, and from there it just depends on how long the contracts take to get approved by the agents. … We’re hoping to [let the student body know] really soon.”