Many people have been wondering how and why the Lion's Pause selects and books its shows. I think it's only right for the student body to be clued in to the process of booking the "big fall concert."
This is my first year as Concert Chair. I began my job last spring and basically have been working on Fall Concert since the day I was hired.
I have a "street team," which consists of the seven people who applied for the position last spring. They act as my board of directors, guiding my decisions as to what bands we bring to the Pause, how much we pay them, how often we have shows, and so on.
This past summer the street team were my right-hand men and women as I was trying to get Fall Concert planned.
The street team makes sure I do my job: providing a variety of music events for the student body while taking into account concert-going habits, schedules, musical tastes, my allotted budget, our schedule and our limited resources, both human and spatial.
By mid-July, I was still in talks with our middleman from Event Resources Presents regarding this year's show. As Concert Chair, all I can do is try to figure out whom or what Oles would like to see, put in an offer and see what happens.
It's actually a very nerve-wracking experience because once we play the game a little and say, "We can offer you this much," it's basically out of my hands.
Our offers have been declined or people have asked for more, or it turned out people weren't going to be available on our date after all, and we've had to start from scratch many times.
St. Olaf students have a pretty eclectic taste -- there is absolutely no way to please everyone, and the date was set before anything based on Skoglund's availability.
Skoglund limited our choices right away. By August our top five choices had been out for nearly a month, and we'd put in offers for about five more acts after that.
Then our middleman suggested Motion City Soundtrack. At first I was hesitant: I had only heard a few of their songs over the summer. But I spent the summer in California and I figured, if California knows about a Minnesota band, they must be on their way somewhere.
I e-mailed the street team to see if they were familiar with the band and what price would be the max we'd offer. To my surprise, most street team members were really excited. A few had even seen them or heard that they put on a cool show.
So I put in the very lowest offer our middleman said the band's "people" would consider accepting. Then we waited to see if Motion City would take it.
It was the day that the offer would expire that one of the street team called me to see how much I would budge if Motion City decided not to take our offer.
I told him I wouldn't. Last year the amount of money that was paid for Fall Concert became a focal point of the so-called "failure" of the event.
I don't think it was a failure. It's hard to know what students want and last year's band didn't mesh with the musical tastes of the greatest number of people.
While I wanted to get a band with enough name recognition and wide-spread appeal to bring in a good crowd, I didn't want to spend some ungodly chunk of our entire year's budget on one show, since it's always going to be hit or miss. So I stayed firm on the offer and prayed they'd take it. And they did.
The Pause is by and for the students, not against them. I want people to voice their opinions. I want to know what people are thinking. It would have been helpful last year to have had a better idea of what kind of music Oles were into, what they like or don't like, what they are willing to cough up eight bucks for and what they won't.
The only goal for Fall Concert is to have a big event on campus, something for Oles to get excited about, and have everyone leave the event in one piece. We aren't trying to make a mint, but if we do end up selling a lot of tickets, that gets put back into the pot for spring shows. The more successful the fall show is, the better chance we have of getting a bigger name for Lutefest.
Fall Concert is a tradition. Just think of it as a subsidized perk for paying a trillion dollars to go here. Get your tickets now at www.stolaftickets.com and rock out on Sept. 30, in spite of The Man.
Shayna Melgaard '07 is the Lion's Pause Concert Coordinator.