Student Association (SA) Productions has began the planning process for the spring semester’s main concert.
Over the last month, SA Production’s board has met several times to discuss particulars of the event –— which will no longer be associated with Rock Against Racism — and send out surveys in an effort to bring artists students want, said Laneesha Bacchus, SA Vice President of Programming who chairs the board.
“The survey is very important; we will see who the students want,” Bacchus said. “One of my main goals for this position was to get those surveys out. Student input is important to me.”
This spring, the board decided to focus efforts on hosting an outdoor festival that would include local acts from New Paltz and New York City as well as having local food vendors, Bacchus said.
SA Executive Vice President Eve Stern said the board has come up with a final list of artists that their $80,000 thousand line “could most realistically afford.” They have finished writing up what the survey will say and is currently waiting to go out to students.
“The students’ input will be the main deciding factor of who SAP will be selecting at this point,” Stern said. “As far as deciding which local acts will be performing during the day, SA Productions has to figure out how that process will be decided.”
Bacchus said the board is narrowing down a list of over 40 band names that could be options on the survey including MGMT, 3OH!3, LMFAO and Drake. Once the list is compiled, surveys will be e-mailed and handed out to students.
“We are doing this because a lot of people don’t check their e-mails regularly and we think face-to-face surveys will give us better feedback from students,” Bacchus said.
Some students, such as third-year theatre major Brendan Quinn, have been concerned with the SA Productions band selections in the past and hope surveys will lead to better judgments of what students would like to see.
“I think that the general student body hasn’t really had much input into the decisions of SA in the past,” Quinn said. “Students I’ve talked to have been confused as to why certain acts appeared and it seemed these acts would only appeal to a narrow collection of students as opposed to acts that
everyone would enjoy.”
Bacchus said this year’s concert would not be affiliated with Rock Against Racism like it was last year because her board decided to keep the two events separate.
“We feel that SAP should be a stand-alone,” Bacchus said. “We need to…put something on campus for the students. While Rock Against Racism is a great event, we wanted to be by ourselves this year.”
Former Vice President of Programming Anthony Lino helped combine the annual activism event with SA Production’s spring concert last year when the popular rapper, Nas, performed for 1,500 students in the Elting Gym.
The event’s move indoors sparked controversy, as college officials declined to let the concert be held in an outdoor setting, citing safety concerns with the amount of students expected to see the rapper perform. In response, Lino and former NORML/SSDP President Marc Pottak garnered more than 1,000 student signatures in protest of the move.
Daniel Pinto, a third-year Radio/TV Production major, thought the decision to split Rock Against Racism was a good idea.
“I don’t even know how they picked the guests,” Pinto said. “I know some people were excited to see Nas, but I can’t say that it was anyone’s first choice. Thinking about it, they always pick the same type of thing, ‘hippityhop,’ that isn’t really relevant anymore. I guess if they split it up they can get some different genres happening.”
Bacchus said the separation this year was not in response to the obstacles faced last year, but rather a unanimous decision by the newly elected board.
Moving forward, Stern said she hopes students will understand how productions such as the spring concert “realistically work.”
“We are a smaller school, which means there are less students with less money going into a student activity fee compared to much larger schools like Buffalo and Geneseo,” Stern said. “This is something really important to remember before students form their stance of how SAP works.”
For the record, SSDP didn’t want Nas. We thought it was the best choice given other options given to us by SAP for Rock Against Racism. Another option that i remember clearly is Girl Talk. Many were shocked they even considered that an option for the event.
The amount Nas got paid for arriving late and performing poorly is enough to pay my current college debt, two-fold, and still pay my rent for a year. It’s as if Nas’s agent stated a price and SAP nodded in agreement. I can only speculate that next to no negotiations took place between SAP and Nas’s agent.
SAP seemed to forget to promote SSDP’s daytime event while they promoted the heck out of their nighttime event, even forgot to put anything about SSDP or our event on their T-shirt. SSDP, however, promoted the night and daytime events and the racism debates and discussions the day before. Also, Nas and SAP was on our T-shirt.
I believe the general consensus of SSDP is congruent with most students, it is good that there are two separate events.
I am also interested to see how administration reacts to another proposal to have an outdoor event that could bring as many or more people.
Source: Current SSDP member
For the record, Nas was chosen by a committee made up of SA members, and was only loosely guided by the activist priorities of Rock Against Racism.