Springfest 2016 Preview

The artists have been announced and tickets are now gone for the 2016 SUNY New Paltz Springfest. A$AP Ferg, Joey Bada$$ and NYCK Caution will play in Elting Gym Saturday, April 30 at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the concert ran out in less than four hours on Monday, April 18 — their first day of sales. Only 1,000 were available.

Vice President of Programming at SUNY New Paltz Student Association Programming (SAP) Goldie Harrison said the only day Elting Gym was open for availability was April 30.

The SAP Board worked with their concert agent, who sent them a list of multiple genres. From there, they picked the top names of each genre. Once that was put together, a pre-survey was released to cast out student’s genre tastes in the fall.  The artist survery came shortly after.

“We said those results are what we were going to use when it comes to a deciding factor if we have two people who have the most votes and they are of different genres,” Harrison said. “We were going to chose the genre that won the pre-survey. I was reading Yik-Yak and saw a lot of students were really upset. We gave the students the opportunity to vote. We want to hear your voices.”

Directly after the artist survey results were analyzed, Chance the Rapper, who garnered immense popularity through the vote, as well as The Front Bottoms were already booked for previous obligations.

During the negotiation process, as a result of scheduling conflicts of artists, the board decided to take a look at last year’s survey.

“We really do try to use the students’ votes to pick who we want,” Harrison said. “But it just never goes as smooth as we planned because artists are busy and everyone wants them. This is the prime college concert time in April.”

Last year’s blending of genres led to clashing between audience members and one of the artists.

“The last two years we mixed genres and then we realized that it is such a split that one artist usually ends up benefiting more than the other,” Harrison said. “If we do mixed genres, we can’t just have two different artists, we have to have three or four, which New Paltz can’t afford.”

This year, SAP gained $40,000 more in funding for their budget. However, they were strongly urged to hold a fall event and to hire a comedian, something that no other student club could put on. With the budget increase, the board had enough money to afford four artists of different genres.

Harrison said last year’s incident and a split of funds is what changed her mind.

“My intentions were to have at least four artists this year of all different genres, so we can have a mixed crowd,” she said. “You can’t really boo someone off, because you have three other acts. It isn’t just split. However, Student Association made a stipulation that the board had to have an autumn event because we had too much money. We were basically forced into spending the money on something besides the concert, when our original intention was to have a music festival kind of concert.”

Brendan O’Brien, advisor of SAP, said the board needed to put on an event of any kind that fits the criteria of being open to the entire student population.

Another effort this year was to get ticketing available online, rather than the old-school pen and paper method which occurred last year and prior years.

Due to administrative restraints, the funding for the technological capabilities were rejected. A proposed idea was to have tickets ready through my.newpaltz.edu, which would make the ticket process easier, especially for those students who live off-campus and commuter students who cannot come during the ticketing times in-person, Harrison said.

O’Brien said there are companies out there who host services for a variety of universities such as Northwestern and Penn State. These services aid with stadiums of 20,000-25,000 people.

“It needs to have a longer conversation,” O’Brien said. “The way that all institutions work is that you can’t walk into an office and demand something happen and then expect it in two weeks. What I would hope for future boards to do is to start the conversation in August when they get back. It might be a service that all clubs can use. It takes initiative at the very beginning for an association to push forward.”

O’Brien also suggested to the students who are not necessarily happy and returning next year should really look into participating as a volunteer to see how these things really work and then run for these elected positions as a senator or a vice president to be able to make these decisions. This includes running for a position on the SAP board.

“A lot of it starts with dialoguing with your board early and often,” he said. “If the average student’s first and only interaction is with buying a ticket and it’s a negative reaction, that’s a shame. I understand their frustration, but it doesn’t recognize the hard work that went into these days, to get these tickets off the ground to even have a show. Without the students that are here working for it, there is no show, and you have nothing.”

In addition, he aided students to get involved in their student boards.

“The more students address this issue with the association, the more inclined or the more of a priority it might be for the future,” O’Brien said.

Another addition to this year’s concert will be the introduction of an SAP Snapchat to show students what it is like who are not volunteering and who is not involved, to see how it is like setting up the stage, green room and when the artists arrive.

Also introduced for the show will be a “blacklight” theme.

“My goal when I got into this position last year, was to try to build a community to make the Springfest something that people look forward to,” Harrison said. “I want it to be something that everyone relates to. It has been this distant spring concert thing that no one cared about for a long time. I am really trying to make it a part of New Paltz culture.”

About Melissa Kramer 157 Articles
Melissa Kramer is a fourth-year journalism major who lives for sports and music.