North Texas Daily

University about to break the bank

University about to break the bank

University about to break the bank
November 05
11:20 2013

Like a kid in a candy store, the University Program Council is about to spend all of its money in one place. Last month, the UPC announced plans for a special concert paid for by the Student Services Committee.

The event, aimed at garnering UNT a better and more fun reputation, has a whopping price tag of $150,000 and will supposedly feature a nationally known artist. While the event has its merits, the money would be better spent on improving the quality of the current concert series instead of spending it all on a middling pop star’s one-off performance.

According to a recent LA Weekly article, bands that headline major music festivals–like Coachella, Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza—usually earn seven figure payouts. These are bands like Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire and Mumford and Sons.

Obviously, these premier echelon bands are out of the budget range for UNT, which makes the next point so jarring. After the top level, payouts decrease considerably. For example, at Coachella in 2010, the lowest rung of bands made only $15,000. UPC could schedule five concerts at that price and have $75,000 left over to ensure good events.

That year, some of the smaller and lesser-known acts were Portugal. The Man, Beach House, B.O.B., Local Natives and As Tall as Lions. All of these are highly accomplished indie bands, and one rapper, that would more than earn UNT a reputation for bringing good music to campus.

Obviously these bands have grown in stature, and would cost significantly more now. B.O.B. for example, would require upwards of $60,000 for a performance, according to concertideas.com, which is the website UPC is working with.

The motivation for having one huge and amazing event is clear. It will feel like an event, which is something rare at UNT, where it usually feels like pulling teeth to engage the campus.

However, the reasoning is shortsighted. If there is only one event, there are two possible outcomes. UNT students love the event and want another one immediately, something that definitely isn’t in the budget, or the event is a flop and UPC has wasted $150,000 worth of student service fees.

Instead of spending six figures on one concert like a wild-eyed kid, UPC should focus on gradually building its reputation by expanding the current music series with up-and-coming indie artists at a much more reasonable price.

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William A. Darnell is a journalism senior. He can be reached at WillDarnell@my.unt.edu.

Feature photo: Graphic by Nicole Arnold / Visuals Editor 

Infographic by James Rambin / Design Editor

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