Gullfest 2017 brings new changes and questions for the future

This is the corrected version of an article that appeared in the April 4, 2017 edition of The Flyer.

After an unexpected withdrawal from artist Logic, SU’s Student Orgnaization for Activity Planning (SOAP) pushes ahead with Gullfest featuring rapper D.R.A.M. as the concert headliner.

According to the SOAP’s post on Instagram on March 25, two more revealed artists, Niykee Heaton and pop/funk band Ripe, will serve as supporting acts.

Logic pulled out from the show as his representatives explained he needed to work on his upcoming album, Everybody, which is set to be released on May 5, 2017, two days before the Gull Fest event, May 7, 2017. A middle agency, Concert Ideas, works between SOAP and the artists in order to negotiate details.

Prior to Logic’s pull, SOAP had teased the rapper’s reveal over their Instagram account using hints such as a picture in relation to the artist’s last name, the Maryland flag, and his birth year 1990.

SOAP’s goal was to improve concert from the issues it faced last year, as The Flyer previously reported on in 2016.

Concert Chair Liana Ramos-Izquierdo expressed her interests in turning over a new leaf.

“After everything that happened last year, we’re trying to rebuild our brand, regain students’ trust,” Ramos- Izquierdo said.

The concert chair also notes they were trying to add new features to Gullfest to make it “more like a festival experience,” Ramos-Izquierdo said. The show may also feature food trucks and other activities, which the organization hopes will make it a better overall experience.

This is not the first year SOAP and the university administration has had to balance student preferences for artists and cost.

Past Gullfest attendance has been low compared to the overall population of the school. According to the director of the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL), formerly Student Activities, Tricia Garvey Smith, the 2016 show featuring Jason Derulo attracted around 600 students.  The previous year sold approximately 1700 tickets, but ended up drawing about 1200 attendees.

The concert uses a portion of student activities money. Attendance, however, does not determine the budgeting for the next Gullfest, Smith explained.

SU’s CSIL has always set aside funds for a concert every year. Past concerts have had current stars like Taylor Swift, prior to their breakout releases.

Established stars price themselves beyond the means of colleges, opting for larger stadium performances that out-earn campus shows.

Students often do not want an up-and-coming artist until they are more established, from the point of view of the CSIL.

Smith questioned the future of the program, citing lower attendance numbers and amount of money the show uses in student activity fees.

“I do think there’s going to be a time to decide, is this really how we want to spend 200,000 dollars?” Smith said.

Other than entertainment, Gullfest continues to provide opportunity for students to learn how to plan and coordinate a show. This includes the process of set stage and concert area set up.

As many ideas are still in progress for future events to come Gullfest will be held on May 7 this year. More information about the event will be released as the date further approaches.

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