Get To Know…Director of Center Stage

This year, JMU experienced something different. Instead of one concert in the fall there were three. So much more goes into this decision than the average student may realize. That is where my job comes into play. As Center Stage Director I work with our middle agent to find out availabilities and prices of artists while simultaneously surveying the students. The survey is so important because we truly look into JMU’s votes to decide who we can bring. This spring, I worked with the Center Stage committee going back and forth over choices on who to bring for this semester. After deliberation about an artist’s draw on campus, their availability,  their prices, and how that works with our budget, we can finally present a bid to the artist.

With our fingers crossed we wait for them to accept so we can bring to market the event to campus. As the director for Center Stage, I organize the ticket sales dates, order and design the tickets, and plan listening parties and day of show preparations. There are not many places on campus that a JMU student can receive hands on experience producing and promoting a concert.

Throughout the year I get to watch the process of choosing the artist to actually renting the Convo center, setting up the stage and lighting to finally watching the student body filter in excited for the show. This entire process has taught me so much about the music industry and how to promote a large scale concert. After this year JMU will have had 4 large scale concerts on its campus. Whether you went to Cartel, BoB, Sara Bareilles or you are going to Wiz Khalifa you can walk in realizing that this entire show came about through students.

~Angela Marino, Director of Center Stage

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UPB Presents…The Campus Consciousness Tour ft. Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa.  The first thing that probably pops into everyone’s head is “Black and Yellow, Black and Yellow, Black and Yellow, Black and Yellow..”  However, the second thing that will now come to mind is that he is coming to JMU as part of UPB’s Spring Convocation Concert!

Headlining for The Campus Consciousness Tour, Wiz Khalifa will be performing along with Pittsburg rapper Mac Miller, and an unannounced special guest.  UPB is bringing Khalifa due to his high popularity among students according to our survey released at the end of last semester.  Although other artists had higher poll results (Kid Cudi and Ke$ha), we were unable to bring them do to price and date conflict issues (Read our past post: Heartbroken Over A Kid).  However, Wiz Khalifa still garnered immense interest from the student body, and we believed it was the best choice for this spring.

We are very excited to team up with The Campus Consciousness Tour too!  “Half rock tour, half environmental campaign, CCT aims to inspire and activate students in an electric atmosphere while leaving a positive impact on each community the tour visits. In addition to educating and mobilizing students, the tour includes many greening elements and is run to have a minimal environmental footprint.”  The CCT is a project started by Reverb, a non-profit organization dedicated to “greening work with bands and artists” by teaching sustainable practices to a variety of music industry leaders, including venues, record labels, and radio stations.  UPB is excited to work with this great organization and show that all of us can be active participants in protecting the environment, which will in turn create measurable change.

UPB’s Spring concert, The Campus Consciousness Tour featuring Wiz Khalifa, will be held on Saturday, April 2nd, in the Convocation Center.  Tickets will go on sale in the Warren Hall Box Office and online at upb.jmu.edu at 8 AM on Wednesday, March 2nd.  Tickets are $28 for floor/ public/ day of show, and $25 for reserved seating with a JACard.

~Mitch Ramey, Public Relations Director

Openers for UPB Concerts

As Research Chair of the Center Stage Committee of UPB, my responsibilities range from researching artists and ticket prices to helping book opening bands.  Dealing with finding openers depends on the headlining artist’s preferences.  Some artists, like B.o.B., are touring with their own openers, so Center Stage doesn’t have to worry about finding one.  Others, like Sara Bareilles, have requested not to have an opener at all.  We did, however, have to work on booking an opener for Cartel, our first act in the Wilson Concert Series.  Here’s how the process of choosing an opening band generally works:

UPB is contacted by a variety of different bands who would like the chance to open at a concert.  I compile a list of these bands that fit with the artist’s genre and bring them to a Center Stage meeting.  Then, as a committee, we listen to the bands and vote on a couple that we think would be good openers for the specific show we’re planning at the time.  After we vote, we send our top choices to the headlining act, who then has to approve of the opener.  If we get the headliner’s approval, then we book the opener!  After the opening band signs a contract, they’re all set to play at the show.  We’re always looking for more bands who would be interested in opening for our concerts, so please contact me if you’re interested!

-Colleen Donoghue, Research Chair Center Stage Committee

Cash, Check, or Flex Only

It’s 5am… do you know where you’re daughter or son is?  If UPB is having a concert, there is a good chance they are sleeping on the Warren patio.  No joke, people take their concerts seriously here at JMU. Ticket sales occur once a semester maybe twice usually for Center Stage but this year things are different. UPB, Center Stage, and yours truly have worked out a way to have 3 concerts this semester, and each of these shows require a similar planning, marketing and executing processes.

One thing about concert planning that I have come to love has been the ticket sales.  Day before the sales occur Center Stagers set up lines on the patio for the faithful fans to camp in. When we leave for the night and return to our houses JMU students with blankets, pillows and tents in hand creep over to set up their beds. The excited fans arrive anywhere from 5 to 10 hours early to play games, watch movies or just sleep until the doors open at 8am. I arrive at 5 am when the sun is still asleep for ticket sales. Sleeping bodies and soft whispers greet me with my UPB umbrella as I wait patiently for the time to arrive. Fast forward to 6:30 am people begin to pack up their sleeping bags and rub the sleepies out of their eyes.  Forms required to buy tickets are passed out and they are clutched like they are golden tickets!

7 am: My marketing team starts going through the line to give away meet and greets. The campers quickly wake up and try to remember facts about artists to win the prize.

Finally, 8 am:  The large doors fly open revealing the ticket sellers. Students line up with their forms and cash, check or flex their eyes excited for the event occurring weeks from now.

~Angela Marino, Center Stage Director

Listen Up!

Are you so excited about Sara Bareilles coming in December that you can’t wait until the show?! Well you’re in luck… UPB is hosting a Sara Bareilles Listening Party on Wednesday November 3rd from 11 am to 1 pm in TDU! This event will promote her concert by playing her songs, providing games for students to show just how much they know about her, and watch an acapella group (or two) perform her songs! This event is completely free and open for anyone to join for as long as you want! It’s right around the corner, so talk to your friends and other Sara fans, and come out to the Listening Party. It’s going to be a blast!

Look out for a Facebook event invite to “UPB Presents… The Wilson Concert Series feat. Sara Bareilles”!!! The show will be on Thursday December 2nd in Wilson Hall at 8 pm. Tickets go on sale just 2 days after the Listening Party—Friday November 5th at 8 am at the Warren Box office. Also look out for flyers posted around campus about ticket sales soon. UPB is extremely excited for both events and we know you are, too!! See you there!

~Katie Teague, Center Stage, Outreach Chair

How We Choose JMU’s Concerts

Hey JMU!  I’m Carrie Martin, the Coordinator of UPB.  During the summer, I work to get things prepared for when you get back in August.  Part of this responsibility includes working with the Center Stage committee to prepare the fall concert survey.  This summer, almost 6,000 of you took the survey to give us your input on whom to bring!  This organization has the responsibility to represent ALL student interests in programming choices, and this huge response on surveys definitely helps to make those decisions easier.  

I’ve noticed, however, that there are a lot of questions about how we make the survey and use the results.  Hopefully this blog post can clear some things up.  

  1. The artists who end up on the survey must meet a few qualifications.  First, they need to be within our price range.  Second, they have to be touring.  We can’t call them at home and ask them to come out just for us.  Third, they have to agree to tour college campuses, and some artists just won’t do it anymore 😦
  2. After we get the results of the survey we think about a lot of things.  Which genre is the most popular?  For every person who says, “If you pick another rap/hip hop artist to come to JMU for the Fall concert, I might consider getting a lobotomy” (actual quote), there is another person who says “no country” or “I’m sick of rock”.  Also, whom can we still afford now that a month has gone by and prices have changed (sometimes drastically)?  Are they available on the few dates that the Convo Center is also available?  There are very few artists that meet all of these qualifications.
  3. Part of our purpose is to bring fun things for you to do all year.  Sometimes I wish we could go all in and spend all the money on a huge artist, but we aren’t allowed to.  And if we could, what would you do for the rest of year?  Plus, I probably wouldn’t have a job anymore!
  4. I’m a fan of some underground bands too, and wish that everyone else shared that love.  However, we have to pick an artist who is going to sell at least 2,500 tickets just to make some of our money back (we never make a profit, and don’t try to).  

Finally, I wanted to give some feedback on some of the survey suggestions we have received:

  • “Dave Matthews Band”, “Lady Gaga”, “Dane Cook”, “Taylor Swift” and others are WAY out of our price range.  These artists typically won’t play college dates either.  Sorry!
  • “Outdoor concert PLEASE!” Due to the outdoor sound policy, we are limited on the times we can hold an outdoor concert.  Since you can’t charge for tickets to an outdoor concert we couldn’t afford a huge artist.  However, we can definitely think of smaller acts for a fun, free outdoor show (and hope for no rain!)
  • “You should offer more floor seats! You had plenty of room left at the Wale Concert!”  We wish we could.  However, we are limited by fire safety guidelines to only 544 tickets.
  • “More Jersey Shore cast” I’m assuming you attended Snooki, and I’m glad you liked it!  But I think we’ll avoid that kind of controversy this year 🙂
  • “The 7th Harry Potter movie at Grafton before it comes out in theatres.”  I WISH.  Wouldn’t it be great if the international premiere was in the ‘burg?  Haha…
  • Finally, “Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Tupac, Janis Joplin, GREMLINS ON THE WINGS OF LOVE.”  Funny!

 There are a TON of great suggestions that we definitely keep in mind.  THANK YOU for such creative ideas – it keeps my job really exciting!  As you continue to think of more, please let us know.  You can always email new event ideas to upb@jmu.edu, become our fan on Facebook and write on our wall, and tweet at us on Twitter!  Keep your eyes open for the fall concert announcement over the next couple months – I promise to try to get someone great!

 -Carrie

Cartel at JMU!

Cartel, the first act in the Wilson Concert series, is set to perform THIS FRIDAY, September 24 at 8 p.m. By doing three Wilson shows we are breaking UPB tradition a little bit. Why not break it a little bit more?

For past Wilson shows we have received a variety of complaints ranging from not being able to stand on the floor in front of the stage to not being able to see from some seats.  Being an organization with JMU students’ best interests in mind, we realized it’s time to make some changes.

First, every ticket sold for the concert will be general admission. Instead of searching for your seats and missing valuable show time, now you may sit wherever you please. Whether you prefer the full and complete sound that comes from sitting farther away, or you prefer the up-close and personal approach that comes from sitting closer, we feel this is advantageous for everyone.

Now clearly, the earlier you arrive the better chance you have of getting your seat of choice. So for the most dedicated fans, we are allowing a limited number to stand on the floor area right in front of the stage. If you are one of the first 75 people in line, you will receive a wristband to stand in this coveted area at no extra charge. Wilson Hall, being a place of JMU business, cannot have people lined up throughout the day so the line will begin at 5 p.m. sharp, the day of the show.

Unfortunately we cannot allow more than 75 in the floor area, but remember any ticket can be as good a seat as you want it to be! Good luck!

Tickets are available for $15 with a JAC and $17 for everyone else at the Warren Box Office and online at upb.jmu.edu

~Steven Butler, Center Stage Committee Member