Timing, Price Of Concert Resulted In Low Ticket Sales
UGBC Doesn't Deliver On One Of The Few Events Aimed At Attracting A Large, Diverse Group Of Students
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 01:09
This weekend, UGBC hosted both the Fall Concert and the Annual Boat Cruise, two of the organization’s major annual programming events. The Fall Concert, featuring O.A.R., Moe Pope, and student DJ Alex Perez, A&S ’14, was held on Friday night in Conte Forum. The Annual Boat Cruise, hosted by UGBC’s Heritage Programming Department, was held downtown on Saturday.
In order to increase ticket sales and attendance, the timing of these events should have been better arranged by UGBC. Holding two events on a single weekend most likely had a negative effect on attendance, particularly at the Fall Concert, which saw a smaller crowd than any concert in recent memory. While UGBC has only a small number of available dates to use Conte Forum each fall, the Annual Boat Cruise is a more flexible event that has ranged from mid-September to early-October over the past several years. Hosting the events on separate weekends would have given students greater flexibility in their schedules and likely increased attendance.
By hosting the two events on the same weekend, however, UGBC was asking students not only to spend $55 dollars on tickets for UGBC events in a single week, but also to spend an entire weekend at such events. While this might be a great weekend plan for students directly involved in UGBC, or for a student who is close friends with someone involved in UGBC, the general student body would be less likely to spend an entire weekend at UGBC-sponsored events. While UGBC marketed this past weekend as “Fall Weekend,” there was no package discount offered for buying tickets to both events. It would have made sense to refer to this weekend as a “Fall Weekend” if tickets were discounted as a package deal. Barring this discount, “Fall Weekend” is simply a marketing ruse drawn up as a last-minute attempt to increase ticket sales.
On that topic, UGBC also released a promo code that lowered ticket prices for the Fall Concert from $30 to $25 last Wednesday night. Students who purchased the tickets at $30 before the price was lowered were not eligible for a $5 refund on their ticket price, but will instead receive a $5 discount on any upcoming large-scale UGBC event. While the $30 ticket price was too high to begin with for an act as outdated as O.A.R. and for a concert already funded by student money through the activities fee, the price should have remained the same for all who purchased tickets.
Lowering ticket prices at the last minute was a last-ditch effort to increase ticket sales for an unpopular Fall Concert that, judging by the size of the crowd Friday night, was unsuccessful. The strategy rewarded those who waited until the last second to buy tickets while unfairly treating those who purchased their tickets early. More thought should have gone into the ticket prices from the start, and those in UGBC who decided on the price should have known that many of their fellow students would not be willing to pay $30 per ticket to see Moe Pope and O.A.R.
This is not to say that the concert was not enjoyable for those who attended. By most reports, the show was entertaining and, although the concert had a slow start, O.A.R. provided an exciting and entertaining finish. The problems with the concert don’t arise from the actual show, however. They arise from the failure to draw a diverse or large group of students. Matt Nacier, UGBC president and A&S ’14, reported that UGBC sold a little over 1,100 tickets to the concert, in comparison to the anticipated 4,800. This is an unacceptably low number for a concert that is purported to be for the entire student body, and uses money from every student’s activities fee.
During his campaign for UGBC president last spring, Tim Koch, A&S ’14, suggested that major programming events like concerts should be held for a charitable cause. The current UGBC administration should consider this for future events. Students would probably be more willing to spend money on a concert ticket if they knew a portion of the proceeds would go to a charitable organization.
Luckily, the problems with the Fall Concert did not detract from the Annual Boat Cruise. The event sold over 550 tickets and appeared to be a success. It not only had great attendance, but demonstrated the success of the new Heritage Programming department, alleviating one of many concerns that were raised when the new UGBC constitution was approved last spring. Although attendance and ticket sales were not a problem for this event, advertising should begin earlier for future Heritage Programming events. The advertising for this particular event didn’t go up until at least a week after the Fall Concert advertising. If students had already purchased a ticket to the Fall Concert before hearing about the Annual Boat Cruise, they might have been less likely to purchase a boat cruise ticket.