UCAB seeks diversity

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January 22, 2008

9:44 PM

With final preparations underway for Mae and the Ying Yang Twins, UCAB is still working toward booking a band for April’s spring concert.

p. UCAB Music Committee Chair Jeanna Occhiogrosso ’08 said that she hopes to have a band in place by March. “The band should be settled before Spring Break,” she said. “We want to give ourselves at least two months to plan for the actual event.”

p. The process of booking a band for the spring concert is an arduous one that begins many months in advance. “The first thing we look at is when we can have the venue that we need for the concert,” Occhiogrosso said. “We usually have the big concert in the spring in [William and Mary] Hall. This year we are looking at Matoaka, but we need to have the Hall as a backup.”

p. Scheduling with the athletics department can be difficult, and usually leaves UCAB with a short list of available dates, an inflexibility that can handcuff the music committee in negotiations with bands.

p. After the dates are determined, Occhiogrosso said the committee brainstorms a list of about 30 bands, taking into account which bands are touring, student interests and current popularity.

p. “We also look at Facebook stats to get an idea what students are listing in their interests,” Occhiogrosso said. “It’s imprecise, but it gives us an idea.”

p. Throughout the process, the committee tries to bring acts to campus that aren’t too similar to previous shows.

p. “The name of the game is diversity,” Occhiogrosso said. “People on campus get so frustrated because they think we’re using their money to bring our favorite bands to campus and it’s just not true … We’re not a hip-hop booking agency, we’re not an indie booking agency, we’re not a rock booking agency. We really try to satisfy different tastes on campus.”

p. Once the committee creates the list, it is passed on to Joe Lowder, the assistant director of student activities programming. Lowder contacts the agents for each of the bands, scratching off bands that are no longer touring, don’t reply or are asking for more money than UCAB can afford.

p. Occhiogrosso said it’s all about making due with the money that they have available, which is around $30,000 for the spring concert. A perfect example was the Homecoming concert with Guster last October, which worked because Guster was willing to add a low budget show as the last stop on the band’s tour.
Occhiogrosso said her committee has worked tirelessly to bring high quality acts to campus, despite the nearly constant criticism they receive.

p. “I can feel the general frustration,” she said. “But there are so many limiting factors. We’re pigeonholed into a couple dates, and we don’t have much money to spend. We do the best we can to bring quality bands to campus that reflect the diverse musical tastes of the students.”

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