Excitement and frustration surrounds Springfest

By Sam Beard, @SamBeard_DE

Four packs of breath mints, one slab of brie cheese and a bag of Sour Patch Kids — these, along with $42,500, are what it took to snag an up-and-coming rapper for Friday’s Springfest in Shryock Auditorium.

Jahron Brathwaite, who goes by the stage name PARTYNEXTDOOR, is set to go on at 7:30 p.m. and will perform for a minimum of 50 minutes, according to his contract with the university, which was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

He was chosen to perform by the Student Programming Council’s concert committee, which aims to bring artists that students and the public will enjoy, Concert Director Breanne Bozzetti said. 

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Singer August Alsina was the committee’s first choice, but the university and Alsina’s managers could not come to an agreement, said Bozzetti, a junior from Orland Park studying radio and television.

Some students on campus are excited for the show, while others have never heard of PARTYNEXTDOOR. A few students said they are baffled he is being paid more than $40,000, the source of which is student fees.

Jasmine Easter, a junior from Chicago studying psychology, said she is upset the university is paying the artist so much money.

“That’s more than my tuition. That’s more than my mom makes in a year. That’s a lot of money,” Easter said. “So this is what student fees go to? That wasn’t explained to me.”

Easter said the mandatory nature of some student fees does not make sense.

“I don’t like concerts… but I’m paying for this man to be here — I’m blown,” she said.

While live music events are not for everybody, some students on campus are excited for Friday’s show.

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Taylor Shufford, a junior from Chicago studying journalism, said she has seen PARTYNEXTDOOR before, but does not understand why she is paying two separate fees to see him on campus.

“It’s pretty cool the school got him to come,” Shufford said. “I’m upset I had to pay a student fee and I still have to pay $15 to get in.” 

The funding comes out of the $46.48 Student Activity Fee, $8 of which goes to SPC. From there, the $8 is split up among the 13 SPC subcommittees, including the concert committee.

Bozzetti would not disclose the dollar amount each student paid to bring PARTYNEXTDOOR to campus.

She said the committee wanted to have a hip-hop show this year.

“Country and rap are two big genres for this campus, [electronic dance music] sometimes,” she said. “Demographics are so important because that is how you are going to bring the people in the community out to these concerts.”

The student body as a whole does not have a say in which artists come to the university.

Bozzetti said the students on the concert committee ask their friends who they would like to see perform. She also posted a poll on the “SIU Carbondale Class of 2016” Facebook group to give students a chance to voice their opinions. 

However, the polling is only to get a feel for who students want to see, Bozzetti said. Neither PARTYNEXTDOOR nor Alsina appeared in the online poll, which revealed rappers Juicy J and ScHoolboy Q as the decisive victors.

Easter said it is not fair that all students do not have an input in selection of the artist.

“We start in the fall, because of how long the process is to find an artist,” Bozzetti said. 

She said PARTYNEXTDOOR is suitable music for a college campus, and the use of explicit lyrics is not considered when choosing an artist.

“We more look at who can we bring here that will make people excited about a concert,” she said. “With our budget, we have to be very picky about what we do, very careful about how we are spending.”

The concert committee has a few on-campus venues to choose from when booking shows. Bozzetti said Shryock was chosen as opposed to SIU Arena because of the expected crowd. 

“PARTYNEXTDOOR is such an upcoming artist, we felt Shryock had more of an intimate setting — he has really chill music,” she said. “We felt the venue was more appropriate.”

Shryock has a capacity of 1,150 people, and 450 tickets have been sold. Tena Bennett, director of the Student Center, said she anticipates 900 tickets will be sold by Friday, with more tickets available at the door. They also sold 50 VIP tickets for the concert as well. 

Ushers and the Department of Public Safety will provide security for the event.

Sam Beard can be reached at [email protected]

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