There are not many things in the world that can cause silence in Barone at 6:30 p.m.
At that time on Tuesday, March 5, FUSA President Rob Vogel’s voice came over the loudspeaker in Barone via WVOF airwaves to announce this year’s artist for the Spring Concert.
With students hushing each other to hear the announcement, Vogel broadcasted a brief compilation of several songs by Kendrick Lamar, thus revealing him as the headlining artist.
The cafeteria immediately erupted. “I screamed in Barone in front of everybody because he’s one of my favorite artists and I’m really excited,” said Emma Pichl ‘15.
Lamar is a hip-hop artist based in California who gained mainstream notoriety after the 2010 release of the mixtape “Overly Dedicated,” and he has recorded with the likes of Drake, Dr. Dre and Busta Rhymes. His second studio album, “Good Kidd, M.A.A.D. City,” was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in 2012.
Sophomore Ryan Panny was familiar with Lamar’s work and thought that “his last album was the best album released last year.” He continued, “I’m really stoked, and I’ll definitely be there in the front row.”
Although the immediate reaction in Barone would suggest universal knowledge of the artist, student reactions varied across the board.
“I personally did not know who he was, but just going off of everyone’s reactions, I think it will be a lot of fun,” said Megan Connors ‘16.
Freshman Robert Schwartz was also unfamiliar with Lamar’s music. “I’ve heard of him, but I honestly couldn’t tell you one song he does.” However, Schwartz expressed less enthusiasm than Connors about attending the concert anyway. “It depends how much tickets are. If it’s upwards of 40 bucks, probably not.”
In order to please as many members of the student body as possible, concert organizers Sara Robicheau ‘13 and Gina Tiftikidis ‘13 released a survey last semester through social media to gauge student interest in specific genres and artists, receiving approximately 600 responses. “Hip-hop was strong,” said Vogel. “Kendrick is somebody that we saw come up numerous times in the open ended section of the survey.”
Using the results of this survey, the concert organizers then selected Lamar to headline the Spring Concert. “The success of the Fall Concert gave us a great opportunity to have a second concert, but we knew the pressure to top it was high,” said Robicheau. “It was a tough decision, but we are confident and feel Kendrick will speak to an even larger crowd, as he is so relevant to the hip-hop genre today.”
Kendrick is also scheduled to perform on April 19 at University of Connecticut and again on April 26 at Central Connecticut State University, with Steve Aoki as his opener for both shows.
Instead of Aoki, FUSA has secured DJ and producer 5 & A Dime as the opening act. Some students expressed disappointment in this selection. Senior Daniel Hughes posted on Facebook: “dont mind kendrick lamar coming to fairfield….. but the fact that unconn paired him with steve aoki makes me want to spend my money elsewhere [sic].”
Vogel believes that 5 & A Dime will be a good opener for Lamar. “With Kendrick, it’s somebody that will be able to hype up the audience beforehand, and that’s all we will really need an opener to be doing.”
Overall, Vogel is pleased with the choice of Lamar as Spring Concert headliner. “If you asked me two years ago if I thought we would be able to have the same Spring concert show as a school as large as UConn, I thought it would have been very, very difficult for us to do,” he said. “But here we are doing it.”
Vogel also clarified that the choice of Lamar was not initiated by proximate concert dates but instead by student input. “We found out about the other shows after the fact of us really looking into pursuing him.”
Last year, Fairfield did not have a Spring Concert. So what makes this year different?
Vogel explained that the Spring Concert is funded by an initial $5,000. This is set aside in FUSA’s yearly budget of approximately $300,000 based on a $95 tuition fee for each student.
“We had that $5,000 of budgeted funding that we were going to put towards it and then any other kind of revenue that we had received over the year,” said Vogel. This additional revenue includes rollover from last year’s budget, Fall Concert profits and higher student enrollment than previously predicted.
“Those kind of different things gave us a little bit of budgetary flexibility, to not reallocate, but allocate some funds for the first time after the budget process was done,” said Vogel. “It is something that, because of our success throughout the course of the year, we are able to do.”
The Fall Concert, consisting of artists Diplo and Krewella, sold approximately 1,900 tickets, coming close to selling out. FUSA declined to share the figure of exact profits from this show.
FUSA will release ticket information for the Spring Concert on Monday, March 18. The concert will take place on May 1, the final day of classes for the Spring semester.