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Attendance at RPC concert disappoints

By Ellen Liu     8/22/12 7:00pm


Students, faculty and staff gathered in Tudor Fieldhouse on Saturday evening to close out the summer with performances from the Tontons, Travis Porter and Sammy Adams. 

RPC gave out approximately 1,350 wristbands at the concert, according to organization adviser Julie Neisler, who estimated that about 1,000 students stayed for all three performers. 

Students disputed this claim, saying a few hundred students were in attendance. 

"I'd say about 250 [were there], but by the end like 70. Maybe 350 or 400 at most," Jones College freshman Adeene Denton said. "The first act was so boring I left and came back."

Brown College sophomore Elena Rodriguez agreed that attendance numbers dwindled throughout the concert. 

"I stayed until halfway through Sammy Adams," Rodriguez said. "[I think] at most 200 [students attended]. It literally looked like 30, 40 people when I left."

Duncan College senior Juyan Azhang said the decline in attendance occurred rapidly after the concert started. 

"By the end of the concert [I think] there were only like 100 people left," Azhand said. "It died down pretty quick," 

Neisler said that attendance numbers were down from last year. When the food and concert had been combined, around 2,000 students attended. Neisler said she attributed the decrease in part to the rainy weather. 

"While we worked with Parking to add two additional inner loop buses to be running during this time in order to get students to the concert dryly, this may not have been enough to counter the rain," Neisler said. 

Baker College senior Chris Pettijohn said the concert date and act selection may have influenced attendance. 

"People who actually listen to Travis Porter and Sammy Adams are likely to be the ones partying on Dis-O and not willing to go to a concert that late in the day," Pettijohn said. 

Neisler said that RPC's relatively late announcement of the performers also hurt attendance. She said that though the RPC concerts committee started looking for acts months earlier than last year, it faced multiple rejections before settling on the Tontons, Travis Porter and Sammy Adams. 

"Our goal to resolve this issue is to start searching for an artist as early as January," Neisler said. "With that in mind, we hope to announce the artist by the end of the school year so upperclassmen can be just as excited about the concert as their freshman counterparts."

The Tontons was secured by KTRU, and RPC used student feedback to select the genre of the headliners, according to Niesler. A random 20 percent of the undergraduate and graduate populations were selected to receive a survey regarding the genres, and the seven options were Top-40, country, alternative, techno/house, hip-hop, rock and acoustic, Neisler said. Students were asked to rank each genre based on likelihood to attend a concert in that genre and the response was overwhelmingly in favor of Top-40, according to Neisler. 

"The RPC Concert Committee worked arduously throughout the summer making offers to numerous Top-40 artists," Neisler said. "When major artists rejected [them] repeatedly, the option for two smaller, still popular, co-headliners was broached."

The Welcome Back Concert was preceded by RPC's inaugural Welcome Back Festival, which offered food from Housing & Dining and various local vendors - including Droubi's Mediterranean Grill, Lai Lai Dumpling House, Papa John's and Crave Cupcake - and inflatable entertainment, such as jousting and an obstacle course, Neisler said. She said approximately 1,500 students attended despite the weather and humidity. 

Brown sophomore and RPC representative Elisa Clark said the festival met and exceeded expectations. 

"We definitely wanted to have the festival as a way for keeping students from drinking too much in the colleges and also to have a way for upperclassmen to meet the freshmen at an event," Clark said. "A lot of people went to the festival and really liked it."

Neisler said RPC is working to get feedback from campus partners and students to improve next year's festival and concert. 

"The improvements made to this year's concert were the direct result of feedback from last year," Neisler said. "RPC is always working to satisfy student wants and needs for campus-wide programming and is always open to feedback."

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