The first concert of the semester hosted by the Activities Council of Bradley University was not as successful as hoped.
The Taking Back Sunday concert sold 1,134 tickets in total, which is a dramatic difference from the 2,516 tickets sold for the Jason Derulo and Mike Posner concert and the 2,570 tickets sold for Weezer.
Ticket sales decreased by 55 percent from the Jason Derulo and Mike Posner concert to the Taking Back Sunday, even after ACBU increased advertising with billboards, banners, posters and radio advertisements.
Although many would point a finger at ACBU for their choice in performer, the full blame cannot be placed on ACBU. There were several constraints placed on the members of SERF, the group of students who plan semester concerts.
In the past, members of ACBU in charge of planning the event have had the liberty to organize the concert based a performer’s availability. Although for this past concert, special requests for the combined homecoming weekend and parents weekend led to less flexibility.
Director of Student Activities Michelle Whited told the Scout in the Feb. 24, 2011 issue that “the administration asked ACBU to plan a concert which students would be excited about for Saturday, Oct. 15,”
It’s hard enough to find a performer who is traveling through the area and is in ACBU’s price range, let alone to find a band that would be able to make a stop at Bradley on a particular Saturday night.
ACBU President Kristin Martino told the Scout she was unhappy with the administration’s request.
“It needs to be pointed out that they shouldn’t have the final say,” Martino said in the Feb. 24, 2011 issue. “We’ve never had to ask permission or approval, it was these last few shows that made us realize we don’t have as much free reign as we are entitled to. They almost have a leash on us. Instead of 20 feet, it’s two feet.”
In addition to finding a performer that would be able to come to campus on a specific date, low ticket sales and student interest could also be a result of the busy weekend.
There was a lot going on last weekend. It was Parents Weekend, Homecoming Weekend and Alumni Weekend all bundled into one.
A few parents attended the concert, but for many Taking Back Sunday is not their style of music. Some parents would prefer to get dinner and catch up with their college student rather than attend a concert that does not suit their music interest.
Even though there were several factors that limited ACBU’s concert planning, the performer itself largely determines ticket sales.
In today’s article “Taking Back Sunday is no sell out” SERF member Bryant Au said “There’s no way we can hit everyone on campus, there’s always going to be a tradeoff.” We feel that this time around the “trade off” was not equivalent to past performances.
The two previous concerts sponsored by ACBU in the new arena, Weezer and Jason Derulo and Mike Posner, were both different styles of music and attracted a different crowd. Even so, both had strong ticket sales, resulting in multiple students camping outside of the arena box office the night before before tickets went on sale.
Taking Back Sunday did not create this kind of excitement. Instead, student’s were apathetic to ACBU’s choice of performer. Even with the several constraints placed on the students who planned the event, we still feel that they should have chosen an artist who is more current or one that has had a single on the radio in the past year, attracting a larger crowd. This artist didn’t have to be a large name, costing more that ACBU’s budget can’t handle, just one that students would recognize.
If ACBU had done so, they could have been able to market the concert to a larger target audience possibly drawing in more parents and students. ACBU took a gamble this time around, but unfortunately it didn’t pay off.