Waka Flocka Flame is coming to our very own Elting Gym this Saturday, May 6, to headline the 2023 Spring Fest along with featuring artist DJ Blackout and the student acts Impacto, Culture Shock and Nachle, which Waka Flocka himself approved of.
Spring Fest has not been able to occur since 2019 due to budget deficits and the COVID-19 pandemic, so this has been a highly anticipated event for those who have never been able to experience a New Paltz Spring Fest in their time attending this school. In the past, performers such as Joey Bada$$, A$AP Ferg and many more have been invited to the Elting Gym to put on insane acts marking the end of the school year.
Excitement, curiosity and anticipation are looming through the student body as everyone wonders what to expect from the event, but the unknown won’t stop people from guessing. “I’m not really sure what to expect, during my time at New Paltz we haven’t really had a concert before. I found out [about it] through friends, who also seemed really excited about the event,” said third-year Michael Basile.
Another third-year student, history major Jen Nolet, said, “I’m hoping that Spring Fest will be a fun, joint experience to bring together all New Paltz students to have fun and listen to music.”
The scouting process began at the amount of money that the Student Association had in budget for the event; any artist that would be making an appearance would have to adhere to this budget. “[The booking agents] gave us a number of different artists that were in our budget range, and we actually put a survey out. We, being the Student Association, put a survey out to students and Waka received the most votes,” said Valerie Turco, Director of the Center for Student Media. “Then we started working with his agent on securing a date and, production-wise, what we had to do because he comes with a DJ, light requirements, sound requirements and stuff like that. So it’s a lot of going back and forth with agents and agencies.”
According to the budget and finance section of Engage, the concert’s budget is a total of $86,500, covering the talent, food, production and other concert-necessities to make the Elting Gym look like Madison Square Garden.
Event planning is not as seamless as it seems when the final product is revealed. In fact, there were many legal and financial obligations that the Student Association and the advisors had to adhere to, especially regarding the contract. “We had to wait for a contract to be fully executed before we could announce the artist. So a lot of steps but we can’t just say we booked him. So even up to the last minute,” said Turco. “We were like, ‘okay.’ Not necessarily delayed, but there’s a lot of legal I’s to dot and T’s to cross before you can make any announcement and then you have to get everything approved.”
Regarding his contract, Waka Flocka has the ability to make special requests to perform at the best of his ability. Although there were rumors that Waka Flocka asked for four roasted chickens, a black towel and a bottle of Hennessy, those rumors were abruptly denied. However, he did make a few special requests. “Nothing crazy. Having worked with other artists before? Nothing too crazy. Like, he wants spicy chili Doritos,” said Turco.
“We get a contract from his agency and like all the things that we have to provide him with, like in his dressing room. I just got the towels and like, we have to provide towels for the stage and towels for the dressing room,” Turco added. “But yeah, you get some crazy requests, but we have the ability on the contract to cross things out. And offer like, ‘we can’t do this but we can do that.’”
In the future, students interested in participating in the production side of events, such as Spring Fest, can join the Student Association Productions (SAP). “We’d love to see more student involvement in the process, because I think this is such an eye-opening experience that more people should get involved with SAP,” explained Turco.Spring Fest will be held on Saturday, May 6. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and will close, without exception, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are selling fast, and are free to all students. If you haven’t yet, get yours in SUB 100N. All Spring Fest updates about ticket sales and prohibited items will be posted to @officialspringfest on Instagram.