All of your UPB concert questions answered

My name is Liz Rea and I am the PR Director for UPB. I have heard a lot of questions and some complaints about UPB’s concerts and the upcoming Macklemore & Ryan Lewis show. I have compiled many of them here and have given my best answers to your questions.

Wiz & Mac tickets sold out so fast, what are you doing to prevent that? I couldn’t get tickets online because the system froze. We allowed students to purchase up to 8 tickets for the Wiz show. This time, students can only purchase up to 4 tickets. Additionally, we are having a week long student pre-sale, hoping that JMU students will have the opportunity to get tickets before other non-JMU people can purchase them. The tickets will be available for the first week only at the Warren Hall Box Office, so there should be no issue with the website freezing during the student pre-sale.

Why is the show on a Monday? Please remember that JMU students will be setting up for the show all day Sunday and will spend hours after the show Monday tearing down the stage, sound, and lights, so needless to say, it is an inconvenience for us too. This date worked best for Macklemore and his touring schedule and also was one of the few days that we could book the Convocation Center.

Why doesn’t UPB bring bigger artists like Kanye West or Taylor Swift? Artists like Kanye West and Taylor Swift are WAY out of our budget. Our budget for UPB is about $360,000 a year and we do almost 200 events per year. The budget for all of our big concerts is around $160,000, spread between 2-5 concerts per year. Our Finance Director, Scott Hammond, had to have a ton of meetings this year to pull together money to get a decent budget for the convocation show, as we did not do so well with our fall Wilson shows (as many of you know/have let us know about). Although Gloriana did quite well, we recognize that New Boyz was not the best choice for JMU, but it happened, and now we are moving on. Macklemore cost us around $50,000 and that was just for the flat fee. We are paying an additional $20,000 to pay our middle agent, pay for security, rent out convo, and to pay for lights and sound. We actually stretched our budget a lot for this show, and it still is probably only about a third or more for what it would cost to bring a bigger name artist. If you would like to search some prices for artists, please check out our middle agent’s website at If an artist is not on the search or the results say “Call for Pricing,” expect the artist to cost at least $150,000 or more. Here are all of the bigger named artists Babco offers (all at least $50,000[terms]=&query[genre_id]=&query[low_price]=50000&query[high_price]=)

It seems like UPB always bring hip-hop/rap. Why didn’t you bring an artist from a different genre? As a whole, we try to bring different types of artists. In the past three years we have brought non-hip-hop/rap performers such as Gloriana, Sara Bareilles, Passion Pit, Ingrid Michaelson, Randy Montana, Third Eye Blind and more. Although these alternates may not personally be your favorite artist, these shows did very well and many students enjoyed them. Please remember, we will never please all 18,000 students at JMU. We get a lot of people who tell us that “everyone” is mad about an artist coming, however, we always sell hundreds of tickets at each show, so please respect the fact that many students are excited about the shows we bring. We also do a series of much smaller shows in TDU called the Spotlight Series (The Lumineers came last fall) every month, which allows us to bring an even bigger variety of music, although the bands may not always be as well known.

Why Macklemore & Ryan Lewis? They scored second highest in the top genre category on the survey. Based upon our availability, budget, the survey, and their availability, we chose to bring them.

Country would do so well at JMU. Why didn’t you spend money on a big country artist? Although country is popular among many students at JMU, country as a genre scored last on the survey.

Here are the survey results this year:

Rap/Hip Hop – 3,223 votes – 63%

Pop – 2,722 votes – 53%

Rock – 2,481 votes – 49%

Country – 2,352 votes – 46%

If you would like to see a live country artist at JMU, check out Madipalooza the Saturday after the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis show.

“UPB sucks dick.” “UPB needs to go.” “Dart – to UPB from a 5th year who has never seen a good concert at JMU.” “UPB needs to step up their game…this is embarrassing and stupid…read between the lines.” “Enjoy the shitty concert” “Great……..thanks for getting none of us excited at all” “Macklemore sucks this is so stupid” “literally you all suck I’m sorry” No, we don’t suck. And yes, we do see these comments even if you don’t mean for us to. But seriously, we are an organization of 150 students who work for months to put on these events. Before posting comments like these, please put yourself in the shoes of your fellow students. Just because UPB brings a certain artist, does not mean that every single person in UPB LOVES that artist. Just because you don’t like the artist, doesn’t mean that we suck as a whole. If you’re an organization, imagine if people said things like this about your events. Recognize that many of the students you are surrounded by daily are in UPB. Please, if you are not going to give us constructive criticism, don’t post nasty comments like these. And yes, these are all comments we have received in just the first day of announcing this show. Every single one of these comments and tweets come straight to my phone and it is really disheartening to see these after I have seen the students in UPB work so hard to bring this show to JMU and to try their very hardest to please the students here.

Macklemore has that one song…great. I promise, Macklemore has more than one song. Yes, he does have his popular songs, (Thrift Shop, Same Love, And We Danced, and Can’t Hold Us), but he also has a lot of other great songs. Check out more of his songs and maybe you will change your mind about how you feel about him.

How do I get a chance to meet Macklemore & Ryan Lewis?! We have yet to confirm any meet and greets as of right now. Once our marketing report is finalized, we will start to give away meet and greet passes IF they are given to us. Keep checking our social media sites for more information.

Is there an opener for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis? The Center Stage Committee in UPB is currently waiting for an approval from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis on an opener. Once an opener is approved, a bid will be placed and we will announce the opener as soon as we have confirmed a contract.

It would be so cool to see a concert in the new stadium at JMU. Why doesn’t UPB do this? The University, at this time, does not allow any organizations to use the stadium.

Why does UPB only use half of the Convocation Center for their concerts? For this concert, we actually looked into opening up all of the seats in the Convocation Center to students. The cost to do this was way out of budget. Additionally, besides for the Wiz Khalifa show, there has not been an artist who has sold out even half of the Convocation Center in twenty years.

Other schools get way better artists than we do, why doesn’t UPB bring these artists? This is one of the most frustrating comments I constantly hear. A lot of the time, it is not the programming board at other colleges that bring big named artists, but rather large venues in the area that bring those artists. For example, the Norva in the Virginia Beach area brings a lot of artists, but people associate ODU with getting those artists, when they really have nothing to do with it. It’s the same way with the Patriot Center at George Mason…the George Mason programming board did not bring Mumford and Sons, the Patriot Center did. Please keep this in mind when you get upset when other cities, not schools, get, what you may think, are better artists than UPB is bringing. If you would like to see the artists that other programming boards in our area have brought/are bringing this year, check out their websites here:

University of Virginia:

George Mason:

William and Mary:

Virginia Tech:

Old Dominion University:

Does UPB actually take the student survey into account when choosing an artist? We take the survey results very seriously. Here are this years results:


1) Rap/Hip Hop – 3,223 votes – 63%
2) Pop – 2,722 votes – 53%
3) Rock – 2,481 votes – 49%
4) Country – 2,352 votes – 46%


1) Gavin DeGraw – 2,304 votes – 49%
2) Of Monsters and Men – 1,645 votes – 35% *NOT AVAILABLE*
3) Slightly Stoopid – 1,462 votes – 31%
4) OK Go – 1,240 votes – 26%


1) Lupe Fiasco – 1,818 votes – 39%
2) Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – 1,561 votes – 34%
3) 2 Chainz – 1,442 votes – 31%
4) Big Sean – 1,440 votes – 31%
5) Tyga – 1,335 votes – 29%
6) Kendrick Lamar – 1,195 votes – 26%


1) Hunter Hayes – 1,772 votes – 53%
2) Jake Owen – 1,706 votes – 51%
3) Josh Turner – 1,603 votes – 48%


1) Goo Goo Dolls – 1,904 votes – 42%
2) Neon Trees – 1,675 votes – 37%
3) All American Rejects – 1,663 votes – 36%

Want more information on the show? Check out the Facebook event for the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis show:
If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns about the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis show or UPB as a whole, feel free to email me, UPB’s PR Director, at or comment below.

11 thoughts on “All of your UPB concert questions answered

  1. Of my 5+ years at JMU, I am MOST excited about this year’s concert! Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are INCREDIBLE and it is an HONOR to have them at our university. THANK YOU UPB!!!!!!!! to anyone complaining about this concert, boo hoo!! MORE SPACE FOR US TO DANCE!

  2. I’m a UPB alum so therefore hella biased. That being said, it’s hard for me to understand how anyone could be so rude to a student organization whose sole objective is to give back to the JMU community. Would you ever say that Saferides sucks? That Student Ambassadors suck d***? And if you’re going to be rude, at least be witty. Don’t come at us like a thirteen year old boy.

  3. You all are amazing and I can’t wait for this concert. Not everyone sees all the work and effort you all put in, but trust me it is appreciated. Thank you for all that you do! Can’t wait for this concert! Will definitely be camping out!

  4. You guys are amazing for getting Macklemore and Ryan Lewis! They are incredible artists and honestly thrift shop is not even their best song! I can’t wait! And to be honest, I think you may very well sell out this year.

  5. I have a lot of respect for UPB for responding to complaints/questions in such a positive and constructive manner. While I haven’t always been a fan of the artists who come to JMU, I certainly respect that UPB does a lot for the JMU community and does their best to bring quality entertainment. And this year I’m pumped for Macklemore. Thanks, UPB, for everything you do!

  6. Thank you so much for your hard work! There are many more of us who appreciate UPB than hate on you! We’re probably just less verbal! I’m so excited for this concert!!!

  7. Actually, other schools do bring a lot of these “better artists”. For example, ODU (which is located in Norfolk and so is the NorVa by the way) had 2Chainez and Meek Mill for their homecoming concert which was put on by the Student Activities Council and VT brought Kendrick Lamar for their homecoming which was sponsored by the VT Union and their Hip Hop Org. Those are just a few examples. I respect ubp in their efforts to provide us with concerts but I haven’t enjoyed a concert at Wilson or Convo since BOB and Wiz Khalifa (however, I did enjoy Kids These Days). Just a suggestion,, maybe after the initial survey is done, ubp could send out another survey with the a list of 3 or 4 artists that were favorites of the initial survey and that fit into the budget and pick the artist that way. I’m not sure if that’ll solve much seeing that the budget seems to be the issue but it should help

  8. While I am an alum and have no preference whatsoever as to who comes to JMU anymore, I personally fell you have tried to defend yourself in an inadequate way. While every student obviously is thankful for an organization thats sole responsibility is to bring them pleasure, you have shown directly above that you disregarded 9 choices of higher votes, regardless of genre to select Macklemore. Do not try to make it seem that this is what the majority of people wanted when 9 other artists received more votes. Admit that your concert last year, Passion Pit, that you claim “did very well” sold less than 1000 tickets and hindered your ability to go out an grab a higher expense artist for this year. Take accountability rather than attacking the backlash you knew was going to come, regardless of artist selection. Maybe UPB’s approach should not be to spend roughly 50% of your budget on one concert that leaves people who dislike the genre you choose to be left with subpar concerts the rest of the year. Perhaps UPB should reassess how they spend their money in order to bring a number of artists throughout the year as opposed to focusing the majority of their time and expenses on one end of year concert.

  9. As a business graduate, I think that UPB does a good job. I do not think that JMU as a whole does. Other schools get the best artists because the schools are willing to provide that. JMU does nothing for the students. UPB does the grunt work and isn’t even given a decent budget. JMU could make so much more money opening up the different venues and managing concerts and events on their own. By doing so, the stadiums are in use. The sunk cost has been made. No sense maintaining the stadium when it is not in use. Make money off of them. UPB does great, JMU is just a poorly managed organization.

  10. Just got back from the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis concert… It was the BEST time I have ever had in my life!!! My girlfriend has been to numerous concerts, and said up until tonight Blink 182 was her favorite concert she had ever attended. Macklemore KILLED IT! The whole place was jumping and the energy was incredible. I feel sorry for any JMU student who missed it, Macklemore said himself that this was the best concert of 2013! Seriously book them again for the next concert we have.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s