Reel Big Fish needs a real big crowd

Posted on September 24, 2012 in News
By Kirsten Sylvain

Last April, the committee in charge of planning a national act concert for Gorham decided to push back the concert date to the fall because of a lack of time for preparation, and now five days before the ska band, Reel Big Fish, is scheduled to visit Gorham, it’s crunch time.

As of last Friday, eight days before the concert, no tickets had yet been sold. Posters were up all over campus reading, “tickets sold at the CIA, Campus Involvement and Activities office (Gorham) and the SIAC, Student Involvement and Activities Center (Portland),” but  at both sites, no tickets were yet on sale.

The student senate allocated $27,000 of student activity fee to fund a concert featuring a national act last year. That money rolled over and has been repurposed for the concert scheduled on Sept. 29. At the Friday student senate meeting, the senate approved another $6,257.50 of student activity fee money toward the concert with a vote of 13 to 2 opposed, bringing total expenditures for the concert to nearly $34,000.

Dan Welter, coordinator of student activities in Gorham and head of the planning efforts, explained that he and others planning the event worked with the resources that they had as best they could to get tickets on sale as quickly as possible. Welter called an emergency meeting at the Husky Hutt in Gorham last Thursday, calling for help with the efforts.

Student Senate Chair Chris Camire attempted to bolster involvement further at the last Senate meeting.

“We need to put our skin in the game and get behind it. Tell a friend, tell everyone,” he said.

Senate Treasurer Samuel Harmon reiterated his concern saying, “It’s too late to back out.”

And other student senators emphasized that it’s now or never. Despite some of the last minute planning, Senator Andrew Kalloch said that the amount of student involvement and excitement going into putting on the show far exceeded his expectations.

The goal of student senate and those involved in planning the event is that profit from the show will allow USM to put on even larger shows in the future. Welter says that he believes the concert will bring in about 1,000 people, with the hope that a majority of tickets will be sold the day of the show.

The concert will be held indoors at 3 p.m. at the Gorham Field House at which the fire code specifies a maximum capacity  of 2,000. In order for the event to make USM a profit, the concert goers will need to exceed that capacity. The bottom line is that any chance of a profit here is dependent upon ticket sales.

For Student Body President TJ Williams, the most frustrating part of the planning process was the wait for contracts and other details to go through, but he agrees that the concert has the potential to be a big success with the help of student volunteers.

Those most directly involved in the planning also seem fairly confident that the show will be a success despite some preparation issues, like slow ticket sales and contract and set-up issues late in the process. For Welter, who has put a lot of work into planning the concert, he feels that the show has every chance of being a huge success as this point.

“We all have to work together to make this show a true success.  This show has the potential to be a major indicator of the future of events like this at USM,” Welter said.

The original show was postponed after the planning committee recognized that the specified timeline was unrealistic. Some on the committee believed that in pushing the concert back, the time would allow for a better planned event.  While student involvement has been impressive so far in the efforts to put on the show, estimations for turn-out at the show remain uncertain.

Tickets will go on sale at both locations this Monday, and they are being sold online at www.concertideastickets.com . The student rate is $15 per ticket, and the public rate is $25.