By Kaydee Jones
Gull Life Editor
Spring time at Salisbury University typically means four things: the reemergence of the insane campus squirrels, ridiculous weather changes, day trips to OC when the weather actually cooperates and Gullfest.
Ever since the Student Organization for Activity Planning announced Jason Derulo as this year’s Gullfest artist, there have been mixed reactions from students.
Some reactions were positive…
And some were anything but…
SOAP, along with OSAO&L, hosted a town hall meeting last week to explain the decision making process for events such as Gullfest. The organization detailed the meeting’s discussion for those who could not attend in an open letter to SU students that was posted on SOAP’s website on Wednesday.
The letter addressed issues such as the concert’s location, security, how the process for choosing an artist works and why Derulo was picked. SOAP said that the artists students voted on had to be approved by University Police, and then the artists on the approved list were unavailable for various reasons, so this put them back to square one.
“We only send one list of artists to be approved by University Police, so we were unable to send another list,” the letter said. “Jason Derulo is an artist that has been to Salisbury before and we were certain that the police would have no problem with him.”
At the town hall meeting, SOAP emphasized that approval from University Police, affordability and availability were major factors that affected the artist decision. They said that this year’s budget for the concert was cut significantly, and more goes in to the concert than just paying the artist.
Money also has to go toward lighting, staging and security.
“We’re not a huge school so we can’t compete with the budget of some of the other schools,” Steven Rogers said , the talks and topics chair for SOAP.
Students at the meeting openly talked to SOAP about their concerns. SU senior Lana Thompson pointed to issues such as how the voting process created false hope among students as to who would be coming to the concert. She proposed an end of year carnival or a similar big event instead of bringing an artist that was unpopular among students.
“I’ve never attended Gullfest and I don’t plan on attending this one,” she said.
SOAP said that they recognized that there will always be negative feedback and there will always be people unhappy with the decision, but they said they strive to provide a well-known artist at an affordable price.
“We put you all in mind,” Kevin Aikins said, SOAP’s Graduate Assistant. “We don’t just say ‘Let’s pick the one we like.’ That’s not the case at all.”
Gullfest was going to be held on Henson Lawn due to a conflict with booking the intramural fields. But Tricia Garvey Smith, the director of Student Activities, sent out an email to students with updated information about the concert, including that it will now be held in Maggs Gym due to weather concerns.
The email also said that doors will open at 3 p.m. and it announced that local Salisbury band The Jesters will open at 3:45, the only known opening act before this was breakfast., who are set to play at 4:30. Derulo will perform at 6:15, and food will be served when doors open.
Tickets are $10 and will be sold until 3 p.m. on Sunday. Only students with tickets will be admitted.