R&B will be the musical style of choice at this year’s annual MIT Spring Weekend Concert. Jason Derülo, known for his hits “Ridin’ Solo” and “Whatcha Say,” will headline the concert. Contemporary R&B artist Janelle Monae will be opening. The concert will take place on April 29, 8 p.m at Johnson Ice Rink.
The selection process for the performers was handled by the Undergraduate Association Events Committee. Though the UA committee has traditionally handled finding entertainment in conjunction with the Student Activities Office, SAO took over these responsibilities in spring 2008 when the committee was unable to come to a conclusion. The choice returned to the UA in 2009 after an overhaul of the committee structure.
To start the process, Events Committee brainstorms a list of artists, which is sent to the committee’s agent at Pretty Polly Productions. The agent directly negotiates with and books the artists, and may inform the committee of other artists who they believe might be a good fit for MIT. The list of artists submitted to the agent this year was taken from the results of a survey sent to students in fall 2010. Christine Chen ’12, Chair of the UA Events Committee, says that the biggest criterion for picking an artist is price.
“Booking talent costs much more than people think,” Chen said. “As much as we would always love to get someone who is very current, we just do not have the budget for it”
Events Committee has a budget of about $100,000 for the event, about $75,000 of which is spent on the costs of booking the headliner and opening act. The top five performers students ranked in last fall’s survey were artists Kid Cudi, Ke$ha, and a three-way tie for third among Owl City, Bruno Mars, and Jason Derülo. All of them were extended offers except Ke$ha, who was not available to perform on the date of the concert. Because of the budget constraint, the committee lost bid wars for Kid Cudi and Bruno Mars to other schools with larger event budgets. Chen says that the bid for Bruno Mars was lost to the University of New Haven and the bid for Kid Cudi was lost to Syracuse University.
Chen says they expect the normal amount of about 1200 tickets to be sold for the event.
“We took a risk with N*E*R*D last year, which did not sell as well as we had hoped,” Chen said. “This year, I think that we have the advantage of having someone with more name recognition compared to last year.”
Chen added that the committee hopes that the distinct musical styles of the opener and headliner will appeal to a more diverse audience.
Pre-sale tickets will be available online on March 7. During the pre-sale, tickets will be $12 for MIT students and $25 for up to two guests per student. Once regular sales start on March 27, ticket prices will increase to $15 for MIT students and $25 for MIT affiliates, guests of members of the MIT community, and local college students. For tickets, visit http://bit.ly/MITSW2011.