I get asked some variation of this question at almost every Concerts & Coffeehouses event we have. Although I do love my girl B, she probably won’t be visiting anytime soon. Though it would be easier to get annoyed and give an eye-roll, I see where everyone is coming from; the process of picking and booking artists to come to Rutgers is not common knowledge, so I’ll break it down into simple steps.
Step 1: The Concerts & Coffeehouses committee of RUPA (there’s 7 of us, including myself) sits down and starts from nothing- literally nothing. We go over what genres we have recently hit, and what audiences we haven’t reached yet. For example, it has been a whole year since we’ve hit the Hip Hop/Rap audience (Childish Gambino came last year for our State Theatre show), so for our Fall State Theatre show, we brought Hip Hop back courtesy of Joey Bada$$, A$AP Rocky, and Ab-Soul.
Step 2: After establishing a genre, we think of all sorts of artists in that category. The only stipulation with this step is that we have to keep in mind our budget for that specific show. That means, they should be well-known, but not insanely expensive. Keep in mind that we have to account for other aspects of the show in our budget (i.e., security, production, etc.). Actually, production for our RAC show last year with Alesso was insanely expensive, so we definitely have to keep that in mind as we plan for our big Spring 2014 concert.
Source: Rutgers Student Life Facebook; Swedish DJ Alesso at RUPA’s Beats on the Banks last year.
Step 3: After picking several possible artists, we get price quotes and availabilities for each person/band through our source. We are also able to see estimated prices for selected artists through a website we use, but not all artists are listed on there.
Step 4: When we start to narrow it down and get really serious about an artist, we call for references. Basically, you call other similar schools and/or venues in which the artist performed at. We have a list of questions we ask the school or venue, depending on the artist. But general questions include: “Can you describe the facility where ______ performed?” “Was the show closed to your university community or was the general public allowed to attend?” “What kind of security was present? Student or professional?” These references help a lot with our decision.
Step 5: After much debate between the committee, we pick a number of artists for all the different shows we have. Aside from our BIG concerts, we also have smaller-scale shows usually held in the Multipurpose Rooms of a designated student center (i.e., our Mayday Parade show at the Livingston Student Center MPR). Each committee member becomes the “point person” for the event they feel strongly about.
Source: Rutgers Student Life Facebook; Mayday Parade performing in the LSC MPR.
Step 6: We fill out a proposal form that contains details from estimated costs for everything to why they should come to RU.
Step 7: We present these proposals to RUPA as a whole during our designated “proposal day,” when each committee presents their proposals. RUPA members then fire any questions or concerns they may have about the event. We actually had our Spring proposal meeting last night! We’ve got some big things planned for the Spring!
Step 8: If all is well, we move on to book them through our source and the artist’s agent. Contracts get signed, riders get sent.
As you can see, it’s a pretty lengthy process. Also, because we are required to have several concerts during the year, we have to spread our budget accordingly to accommodate all events. Like I just mentioned, we have just proposed all the events to all of council, including the advisers (who are professional workers, non-students).
After understanding the process behind everything, hopefully it becomes clear why Beyoncé probably won’t be at RU anytime soon. Besides, she’s probably busy chasing Blue around anyway.