By Greg Allen
On Monday, March 6, SC Backstage announced the highly-anticipated 2017 spring concert. Some got what they were hoping for, and others were left with disappointment. The concert is titled “Country Fest,” and will be co-headlined by Chase Bryant and Jana Kramer on April 22. Despite the rumors of the concert potentially being outside, Hannah Pancak, Adviser of SC Backstage, confirmed that the concert will definitely be in Blake Arena, and the concert will not be outside.
With differing and strong opinions floating around Twitter and campus, The Springfield Student decided to take a survey to see who is planning to attend and who plans to make other plans. Of the 58 Springfield College students surveyed, 25 said they will attend, 21 said they will not, and 12 are still undecided.
“I’m excited for the concert,” said senior Kevin Mirando. “I enjoy country music as it starts to get warmer and have heard good things about the artists even though they aren’t mainstream.”
Senior Josh Gaines disagrees. “It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “They sold out in under a month with a hip-hop artist last year, but then they chose a country singer for this year. They would’ve been better off hiring a DJ for three hours and having a school dance.”
At the beginning of every year, SC Backstage sends out a survey to get a feel for what kind of concert the student body wants. Each year there are a number of suggestions, but according to Pancak, many of those suggestions are unrealistic due to budget limitations.
Pancak said that in her two years at Springfield, country has consistently been the second most suggested genre behind rap/hip-hop. Senior and SC Backstage Executive Board Member Mike Lawson said that in his four years, the two genres have always been neck-in-neck, country receiving slightly less votes.
This year, because last year was a rap/hip-hop concert and there hasn’t been a country concert in quite some time, the committee decided to mix things up and give Springfield’s country fans the concert they’ve been waiting for.
“We decided that we were going to try something new because country has always been the second option,” Pancak said. “Planning this takes a lot of steps. We have to pick a date, pick a genre, and then work with our agent to find an artist who is available on that date and is within our budget.”
SC Backstage was allocated $80,000 from Student Government Association this year. According to Pancak, roughly $60,000 of that is used to pay the artist. The remaining money, along with profits from last year’s ticket sales, is used for production and food.
“These artists want a lot of stuff,” Pancak said. “Some artists need a lot of backline, making it even more expensive.”
Once the genre was decided, SC Backstage began to place bids for artists. Bids were placed for Dan and Shay and Old Dominion among others.
“A problem that we encountered is that the nationwide Country Fest is all of April all over the country,” Pancak said. “Old Dominion got famous really quick and jacked up their prices.”
Last year, considered artists also raised their prices after a bid was placed. SC Backstage planned to bring Fetty Wap to campus last spring, but after he became a big-name artist, he refused to come for anything under six figures.
For those attending the concert, Pancak and Lawson believe you’ll have a great time. Although not yet set in stone, SC Backstage is planning on having an outdoor food activity during the day prior to the concert.
“We want to create that country kind of feel and set the tone for the day,” Pancak said. “We also brought in Hish who will DJ country music before the performers. This will get the crowd pumped up and in the mood. Then the headliners will come on and perform.”
For the people who aren’t so excited about this concert or country music in general, Lawson and Pancak still think you should consider attending.
Lawson said, “If you go with your friends you’re going to have a good time. It’s going to be a good group thing. I think it’ll be a nice concert. Plus it’s just five dollars. Five dollars to go and have a good time.”
“I think college is a great place to explore other things in the world that are out there,” Pancak added. “It’s also important to realize that because country is always the second choice, we felt it was important to touch that population of the school. Also, if anyone is upset about it, they are more than welcome to join the committee for next year. I am also more than happy to sit down with anyone and explain the decision-making process.”