Laneesha Bacchus, Student Association (SA) vice president of programming, said the headliner of the concert set for Saturday, May 5 in [Elting] Gym at 9 p.m. was to be chosen based on votes gathered from the student body last semester. However, flaws in the survey hindered the selection process for the SA Productions (SAP) Board, Bacchus said.
“People could vote as many times as they wanted with the survey, so it wasn’t entirely accurate,” Bacchus said.
The results of the survey showed that pop-punk band Taking Back Sunday came in first in the voting, garnering a total of 1,182 votes. Other artists such as Matt And Kim and Regina Spektor, who placed higher than Wale, finished with 1,045 and 1,077 total votes, respectively. Wale finished the voting with a total of 710 votes.
Bacchus said Big Sean and Taking Back Sunday were explored as possible options for the headlining act, but SAP decided to book Wale for the concert.
The asking price for Taking Back Sunday was approximately $40,000 and Big Sean was sent a bid that was negotiated down to $35,000 before he decided to continue on his prescheduled tour in Europe a day early, Student Activities and Union Director Michael Patterson said. Bacchus said both Taking Back Sunday and Big Sean would have both cost $45,000.
Wale will cost $40,000 to book, Bacchus said.
“A lot of discussion was going on, even though my board is not at the full 10 members,” Bacchus said. “My E-board thought the student body and Wale were a good match.”
The survey, sent out last semester, did not give the SAP board an accurate depiction of what the student body wanted due to technicalities with the survey provider Survey Monkey, Bacchus said. Because of this, she said the board received complaints over how the survey was interpreted by them.
“I [found] it difficult with people saying ‘there is only one way to read the survey’ when actually we spoke to Survey Monkey and they told me that you can read the survey how ever you want to read it. There is not one specific way to read the survey.”
Student Activities & Union Services Events Coordinator Brendan O’Brien, who serves as an advisor to SAP, said there were multiple ways to interpret the data collected from Survey Monkey.
O’Brien said the numbers required “a little bit more thought” to determine who was the most requested artist.
“The choice system complicated the process a bit because Survey Monkey was giving you percentages based on the total number of votes for one artist,” O’Brien said. “The percentages did not reflect the total student vote.”
Other parts of the concert, such as the opening act and proposed festival aspect discussed last semester, are still being discussed by SAP over their next few meetings, Bacchus said.
Bacchus said the board’s plan to host a festival before the concert will not be occurring due to budgetary constraints, however a scaled-back version of the plan could happen after she reviews the cost of lighting and production.
“We’re discussing marketing and promotion as well as an opening act,” Bacchus said. “We’re going to play around with [possible acts].”
As for the future, O’Brien said he believes the board should review the survey and voting process at the end of the semester to evaluate how to improve their technique.
“I think there is room for improvement but the students have not discussed the voting process yet as they are focused on getting the show together,” O’Brien said.
Jesse Sweeney, a fourth-year psychology major, said despite the flaws in the survey, he is excited to see Wale perform this spring.
“I think he’s a good pick, I just hope it won’t be like Nas last year and he barely performs,” Sweeney said. “I think he’s a good fit because New Paltz either likes really crazy or really chill.”