ACBU to bring in larger acts with activity fee raise next fall

The activity fee increase from $130 to $170 set for next fall could give the Activities Council at Bradley University the buying power to bring in artists currently topping the charts, Assistant Director of Student Activities Dain Gotto said. Performers such as Nicki Minaj or Kid Cudi, previously out of the question for the concert budget, could be fair game.

“We have about $60,000 to spend each semester, but with this increase we will have about $100,000,” Gotto said. “That gets us a much higher caliber of performer but with much less of a gamble.”

The last time the activity fee increased was 2008, but performers’ fees have continued to rise.

“Before the activity fee increase went into effect in 2009, it seemed almost impossible to put on a show that students would enjoy,” Gotto said. “And with this increase, it’ll be easier to get people who have a few hits right now rather than someone who might have a hit afterward or who had hits a few years ago.”

After the fall concert, which featured Taking Back Sunday and the Maine, only sold 1,810 tickets, as compared to 2,750 for Weezer in Sept. 2010 and 2,516 for Mike Posner/Jason DeRulo last spring, Gotto said ACBU had to be careful with funding.

“With Taking Back Sunday, our ticket sales weren’t so great. So we had to be much more cautious with our money for the spring concert,” he said.

But Gotto said things are looking up, especially after seeing spring performer DJ Redfoo of LMFAO at the Feb. 5 Super Bowl.

“Once that hit my radar, it was four or five days before the Super Bowl,” he said. “So it was really exciting to know that a few months after that Redfoo would be at the [Renaissance] Coliseum.”

In selecting an artist, Gotto said, ACBU looks for someone just stepping out on the music scene.

“Weezer was much bigger than any other band we recently brought in, but we’ve been really fortunate to get artists who were really fresh on the music scene,” Gotto said. “We love it when that happens, and it kind of happened with Redfoo [of LMFAO.] They’re exploding on the scene right now.”

The key is combining a well-known name with good timing and a manageable cost, Gotto said.

“We’ve been really holding out for artists who work out perfectly routing-wise,” he said.  “We’ve had to really try to get those big-name performers at a lower price.”

Director of Student Activities Michelle Whited said ACBU has been fortunate with the performers they have booked.

“We’ve typically booked performers who are at a similar caliber, and we’re lucky to get those bands just before they get huge because then their price skyrockets,” she said. “The best example was Goo Goo Dolls in 1999. We booked them right before ‘Iris’ came out. Their price skyrocketed after that, but we had already had at the lower price.”

Gotto, who moved to his new job at Northern Illinois University this week, said he is looking forward to coming back for the spring concert.

“I’m definitely excited for that,” he said. “I’ll be there to help out, but I also know it’ll be a really fun show.”

Tickets for both the general admissions pit and regular seating tickets will go on sale for students on March 26 at 8 a.m. at the arena.

Student tickets will be $10 each and every student can purchase up to 10 tickets with one ID.

Faculty and staff tickets will go on sale March 29 for $20 and general admission tickets will go on sale  April 2 for $30.