Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) puts on Concerts in the Plaza, in the University Union (UU) Plaza during UU Hour (11 a.m. to noon on Thursdays), but it would like to gain more suggestions from students, according to ASI Events entertainment student supervisor Leif Garrovillas.
ASI Events currently puts on five to six concerts a quarter and suggestions are now being taken for the fall. Today’s performer is Hieroglyphics, an underground hip-hop group from the Bay Area, and on May 31, former Cal Poly student and singer/songwriter Mike Annuzzi will take the stage.
ASI Events has only had about three people a quarter email them with suggestions of artists that should play during UU Hour though, Garrovillas said.
Even though not a lot of suggestions have come in, ASI Events appreciates each one.
ASI Events program coordinator Missi Bullock said ASI Events listens and cares about the students’ suggestions, and the organization can’t do its job without student input.
In addition to students being able to contribute artist requests via email to ASI Events, there’s a suggestion box in the UU, Garrovillas said. ASI Events representatives also hand out surveys during the concerts, but most students usually don’t take the time to fill them out, Garrovillas said.
“People don’t really care about surveys,” Garrovillas said.
There was one time when a student came up to Garrovillas and suggested a certain band come out, and ASI Events listened to them — it ended up being one of the most crowded shows, Garrovillas said. According to Garrovillas, some of the suggestions, such as Taylor Swift, are unrealistic though. There’s no way the school can afford that, he said.
One of the other issues is deciding if the group should have less concerts with only big names or smaller bands every week, Garrovillas said.
“That goes along with the whole difficulty of reaching out and finding out what students want,” Garrovillas said. “As much as we’d like to bring in giant bands every time — we would love to — it’s just not possible because of the budget issue. When deciding on which artists to bring, it comes down to availability, budget, musical genre and campus interest,” Garrovillas said.
Garrovillas said the well-known hip-hop and reggae names seem to bring a large crowd, and ASI Events would like to bring in more well-known rock names because they bring a large crowd too, but their prices are usually higher — to the tune of $5,000, Garrovillas said.
Security is another expense that has to be considered when bringing in big names, Bullock said. When ASI Events expects that there will be a thousand people or more at a show, it hires security from Miller Event Management; this costs $100 per show per security guard, Bullock said. When working with student money, ASI Events are really conscious about putting money toward bands that students will like, Bullock said.
In regards to hosting a variety of genres, Garrovillas said he’s interested in bringing electronic music here, although it might require even more security.
“There’s definitely been requests and we’ve considered it before,” Garrovillas said. “I think it really comes down to the type of event that I would like to see it in. It would be a night concert and it would be kind of a liability. There’s more of a liability because people end up getting more drunk or use drugs more. Campuses have had problems with the crowd that comes out of techno shows as opposed to even hip-hop … electronic is pretty crazy.”
For the last three years, big-ticketed shows weren’t possible because the Recreation Center wasn’t done, but now that it is, ASI can use production companies to bring in big shows there, Garrovillas said. And these shows would be discounted for students, he said.
Despite Garrovillas’ enthusiasm, some students aren’t enthusiastic about the concerts.
Communication studies freshman Paige Dolan said she thinks Concerts in the Plaza is unnecessary even though it’s a nice thing the school does.
“They definitely could direct the funds to something more useful, but I don’t really think it’s that much,” Dolan said. “I like that they have a variety.”
Physics junior Travis Frazer said despite the lack of enthusiasm, he thinks the concerts are a fun event.
“If they stopped doing the Concerts in the Plaza and stopped charging us money, I wouldn’t complain,” Frazer, said. “I usually see people out here enjoying it, and especially with some of the bigger groups that have a following. I guess I’d say I’m fine either way.”