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Ben Folds to perform at Stepan

Emma Driscoll | Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ben Folds has developed a reputation for rocking the suburbs, but after the Student Union Board (SUB) released news the musician would be performing at Notre Dame in November, it’s apparent the piano-rock artist has room for college campuses as well.

Folds will perform on Nov. 10 at 9 p.m. in the Stepan Center.

The decision to bring Folds to campus was the result of “general student feedback,” SUB manager Patrick Vassel said. Through formal polling and informal feedback, Vassel said Folds is “somebody that [SUB] knows is extremely popular on campus.”

Vassel also mentioned only “half jokingly” that Folds is one of the top 10 most popular music artists that Notre Dame students list on their Facebook profiles.

“[When] over 500 people have an artist listed on their profile – you get an idea that he is widely popular,” he said.

The singer has released four solo LPs and intends to release another album, “supersunnyspeedgraphic,” on Oct. 24. After the release of “Songs for Silverman,” Folds’ most recent album, he has been touring with bassist Jared Reynolds and drummer Lindsay Jamieson, who will also be performing with Folds at Notre Dame in November.

The process for bringing Folds to Notre Dame began last April when SUB had its annual turnover.

“As soon as we heard in April that [Folds] was going to be available in the fall, we contacted the agent,” Vassel said. “It was a process of months and months, but we were able to make it happen.”

Folds has performed on other college campuses, including Purdue, Vassel said.

Due to legal and contractual issues, SUB could not reveal how much Folds’ fee will be for performing. The total cost, however, will include security, hospitality, transportation and production, Vassel said.

The University concert budget is “just under $55,000,” Vassel said. “[SUB’s] plan basically is to spend all of that concert budget and then use the ticket revenue from it to fund the concert in the spring.”

SUB has made an effort, he said, to minimize the cost of attending the concert for students.

“Basically, we could charge whatever we want theoretically,” Vassel said. “But we always try to keep our shows affordable for students.”

The ticket price will be $15 – a $5 increase from ticket costs for last year’s Better Than Ezra and Pat Green concerts, Vassel said.

“The increase is “really just reflective of the fact that it’s a more expensive concert for us,” he said. “We think it’s a fair price, and we’re hopeful that it sells out.”

To sell out, SUB needs to sell nearly 1,800 tickets, the Stepan Center’s capacity for that night. Vassel said last year’s concert capacities were only 1,500.

“Being a more popular artist, we were able to work with Notre Dame Security/ Police and Risk Management to getting the capacity increased to 1,800,” he said.

While Vassel admits the concert’s location at Stepan Center may not be perfect, he thinks it is the best option.

“We wish for something better, but it’s kind of the best of what we’ve got,” Vassel said. “I say it’s the best location with the understanding that obviously it’s not ideal.”

Stepan Center is the best location because the Performing Arts Center is not available for SUB use and the Joyce Center requires a whole new level of production, Vassel said.

Concerts held at the Joyce Center are “significantly more expensive,” Vassel said, and scheduling anything at the Joyce Center is difficult.

“Because Stepan Center is a Student Activities venue, it’s much easier to book in advance [and] it’s a lot easier to be flexible with the schedule,” he said.

Tickets for the concert will go on sale on Oct. 26 at 9 a.m. in the LaFortune Box Office and will be open to all Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross College students with valid IDs.