Letter to the Editor: Planning for May Weekend no simple task

By on April 4, 2007

Over the past three-and-a-half years, I have been able to take part in the planning of our annual May Weekend festivities. For students who choose not to be involved in planning, it may look like a piece of cake, something that the school puts together in a short amount of time. In fact, months (most of the spring and fall semester) are actually spent in the planning, organizing and researching activities to be held for these two days. More importantly, the majority of the planning and programming is done by students serving on the executive and general boards of the Student Programming Board, commonly known as ‘SPB.’ These are the same students who pledge their time to program events on Friday and Saturday nights on behalf of the entire campus.

I have heard every complaint about May Weekend performers. In the beginning, when students would complain to me, I would defend SPB and list the reasons why the SPB booked who and what they did. But now, it just seems ineffective, because the rationale seems to go in one ear and out the other. So, I thought I would explain the process of May Weekend and how much work actually goes into it.

Researching the Friday night May Weekend performer actually begins in the summer when SPB begins searching for an act for the fall concert. It’s not as simple as picking up the phone calling an artist and saying, “Hey, how’s it going, wanna play at Quinnipiac?” SPB works with an agent who is able to tell us which performers are available, how much they cost, and based on previous performances, if the show will be well received. From this point, SPB compiles a list of available bands and who is in our price range.

This year, the SPB executive board decided to take that list and survey students to get more of a feel for what the student body would like. This survey was created on Survey Monkey, and due to restraints, we were only able to offer the survey to 1,000 students. The initial thought was to create an additional survey in hopes of reaching more students, however, after receiving the results from the first 1,000, we felt comfortable with the results. In addition to this survey, the results from the survey the freshman class took during new student orientation were also taken into account.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, what were the results and what happened with New Found Glory, Bob Saget and Jimmy Eat World? Well, for your reading pleasure, here they are: bands including, Jimmy Eat World, New Found Glory and Ciara all received 55 percent of the vote. Top comedians included Bob Saget, receiving 57 percent, and the Who’s Line Is It Anyway Comedy Show received an overwhelming 72 percent of the vote.

We sent these top choices to our agent and he was able to let us know which acts were available and the quality of their shows. Jimmy Eat World, Ciara, New Found Glory and Bob Saget were all within our price range, but were unavailable for a variety of reasons. We also took into account the fall concert that showcased Sugarcult and Matchbook Romance and a surprise spring concert with Jason Mraz. With hopes of bringing a different type of show to campus, we went in the direction of comedy.

Now, let’s talk a little about money so you have an understanding regarding the finances the Student Programming Board can work with. SPB receives $40,000 from the Student Government Association to plan Friday night’s main stage act. Students always ask for acts such as Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy and O.A.R., all of which range between $60,000-150,000 to bring to campus, a figure which is completely out of our price range.

SPB is currently working with the Student Government Association to obtain more money for future May Weekend and Fall Concert performances, although with over 40 student organizations requesting funds, and rightfully so for activities, events, conferences and the like, this is not a guarantee. But rest-assured, the students behind the scenes of SPB will continue to bring the best-quality performers possible for your entertainment.

Danielle Mastronardi
SPB President


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