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At forum, BCA outlines Spring Weekend act selection

BCA members said reaching out to their middle agent as soon as Kendrick Lamar’s album first leaked helped them book the artist. Herald file photo.

Brown Concert Agency held its first of many open forums to inform the student body of the Spring Weekend planning process and solicit student opinions yesterday at 6 p.m. in Salomon 101.

“We want to reach out to the student body, and we want them to understand the process of the concert planning and how it works,” said Micah Greenberg ’14, booking chair

BCA plans on holding more open forums, setting up a table on the College Green in the months leading up to Spring Weekend and taking into account the preferences students express in the ongoing Undergraduate Council of Students poll, she said.

BCA’s primary purpose is to “provide students with the best acts possible,” said Cameron Johnson ’14, administrative chair. BCA reaches out to the student body for their foundation of information, he said.

The meeting consisted of a discussion of BCA’s timeline for the year, their selection of performers, ticketing issues and a question-and-answer session on what groups BCA can afford. About 14 students attended, including four non-BCA members.

Instead of having a Fall Concert, Greenberg said BCA requested a “super-sized budget” to make this year’s Spring Weekend “truly memorable.”

“We try to predict what will be popular in the spring,” Johnson said. Last year, BCA was able to book Kendrick Lamar at an affordable price by acting early.

Within 24 hours of his album “good kid, m.A.A.d city” leaking in February, all BCA members listened to it online and contacted their middle agent to book him, Johnson said.

Due to budget constraints, artists such as Beyonce and Taylor Swift are out of reach. In his hit song “Started from the Bottom,” when Drake raps, “now I’m on the road, half a million for a show,” he’s not kidding, Johnson said.

But booking artists like Lorde is possible, Greenberg said.

“This year isn’t quite like the others,” Greenberg said. “It’s the 250th anniversary of Brown, and Spring Weekend is really the only event that brings the whole undergraduate body together.”

Once acts are picked, BCA co-signs a contract with the artists specifying concert details including when the line-up can be publicly announced. If these terms are violated, artists have the right to drop out, Greenberg said, making confidentiality of utmost importance.

The BCA starts planning for Spring Weekend over the preceding summer, Johnson said. In the fall, members meet weekly, interview potential new members and book “as many artists as we can.”  In the spring, they finalize the booking process, looking for groups that are relevant in the music world, popular with students, good live performers and fit well together “creating a complete puzzle,” Johnson added.

Brown Student Agencies is also working in collaboration with the BCA to fix ticketing issues. Because payment verification must go through a contracted service called TouchNet, ticketing must happen on TouchNet’s servers, said Connor Shinn ’14, BSA executive director. “We’re confident that this year it’s in their best interest, as well as ours, to have this go well,” he said.

“They seemed to know what they are doing, and I’m looking forward to when the lineup gets revealed,” said Dani Dichter ’17.