Illustration by Andrea Nebhut
This Aug. 24, on the partially dead grass in front of Dick and Peggy Prassel Residence Hall, the summer spirit of 2015 will rap to college students the anthem of a surprisingly far-off time.
Unlike KYLE, the latest Welcome Week Concert headliner, Fetty Wap, isn’t an emerging artist, but one who has been at the top of the industry since his explosion in popularity following his hit 2015 single “Trap Queen.”
Fetty Wap has made songs with Nicki Minaj, Takashi 69, Ty Dolla $ign and many others, all attributing to a career that has seen him become a platinum-selling artist with three songs making the top ten in the Billboard charts and five making the top fifty.
The process of landing such a big name artist is handled by the Student Programing Board (SPB), a group of 10 Trinity students, ranging from graphics creators to social media crafters.
Three members of SPB lead the way in choosing the artist, something Dylan Welling, senior and concert chair for SPB, said was “the hardest part of the process.”
Welling, along with the assistant concert chair, Victory Ogubuike, soph. and assistant concert chair, and Shannon Twumasi, coordinator for Student Programs, began the process of planning the concert nearly eight months ago.
“Right after Christmas, we start looking into people … The spring semester is when we really hit the wall and go to town on the concert. We starting debating and doing research as to who we want, and yeah, it is a pretty long process. Over the summer we also are planning. I was abroad this summer and all the time, I was on the phone, planning and emailing. I was helping make the videos and getting things moving. It really is a process that starts in January and ends in August,” Welling said.
Shannon helped break down the timeline of the planning process.
“In January, the concert chair and the assistant concert chair will get together and create a marketing scheme for the upcoming concert. This will help them gauge what students want in terms of genre. Our information in terms of that is only as good as the information we receive but this year we had a good sample size,” Twumasi said. “In March we talk with SPB about some of the artists we had in mind and then in May we solidify who we want as a candidate before the concert chairs leave for the summer … Once that is done, over the summer the contract is negotiated and the insurance is finalized and the set up in terms of area, shirts, food, lights gates, that is done in the summer.”
But for this year’s process, SPB made a couple changes.
SPB, with the help of Welling, sent out a survey. It helped in narrowing down the pool of artists but was just one part of the effort of pleasing Trinity University’s 2200-plus students and their many diverse music tastes.
To achieve this, Welling created a diagram that helped determine the best artist.
“We have to do our best to please everybody, so we look for artists who can generate the most hype, have a decent level of cleanliness in their music and carry a certain degree of notoriety with their name. For my research, I would lookup YouTube videos of live concerts of the different artists we are scouting to see which one had the most hype and energy. In terms of cleanliness, we have to submit the potential artist through a rigorous process to make sure they meet Trinity guidelines. As for notoriety, it’s how much buzz their name alone can create. With Fetty Wap, he covered all the areas in the diagram,” Welling said.
While SPB does have a degree of control over the choice of artist, they can’t control the budget, the mood of the artist or if they like the stage size or if the artist simply out of their price range. Another misconception is that the location of the concert is something SPB has complete control over.
“We are always looking for people who are willing to give us a space for this [the welcome week concert] but for right now Prassel lawn is permanent, and there is nothing we [SPB] can do about it. That’s a big misconception is that it’s on us as to the location, but really it’s on others for not letting us plan it elsewhere,” Welling said.
Another misconception Welling was quick to note was the number of backstage passes given out.
“We have no control over how many people are let backstage. The artist tells us how many are allowed back for photos and pictures and what not. KYLE said five, Fetty Wap said eight. We go off of that, and that’s how many passes SPB gives away,” Welling said.
SPB has a certain amount of control and works to find an artist who will be favorable to a majoroty of the population. In past concerts, attendance has been an issue, but to help bring more people to the concert, SPB has implemented some new and old tactics.
“We are bringing Cheesy Jane’s for the concert … and the first 400 people get free food, a new attraction we are adding this year,” Welling said. “In addition to 500 free shirts, there is a special edition Welcome Week concert shirt that will be given out during the concert.”
In terms of how many attendees SPB is expecting this year, they projected to have a higher turn out than previous years.
“We are hoping between 600–800 people will go,” Ogubuike said.
The process for picking and planning the concert is an eight month commitment but at the end, Ogubuike and Welling both agreed that it is worth it.
“I am extremely excited for this concert, I’ve never done something on this large of a scale before. Mostly, I’m excited to meet Fetty Wap and to see people have fun. Finally, all of my hard work is going to pay off,” Ogubuike said.
The concert will be this Saturday, August 24 on Prassel Lawn. The mixture of free food, limited edition T-shirts and an artist whose name doesn’t have cat in it has the possibility of making for a great time.