The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Renovation, scheduling issues hinder CAB concert lineup

The Campus Activities Board will not bring a concert to the Robins Center this semester because of recent renovations to the venue and continuing issues with the university administration.

CAB's schedule this fall, which includes musician Ben Lee as well as annual campus mainstays hypnotist Tom DeLuca and mentalist Craig Karges, does not include a high-profile concert at the Robins Center. The problem, CAB President Mary Margaret Colleary said, is the venue's renovation, which has further restricted the already narrow time frame the organization is given to schedule events there.

"We've never been given more than two possible dates to schedule a concert at the Robins Center," Colleary said. "And once basketball season starts, we can't go near it."

Colleary said CAB must now wait until spring for the opportunity to schedule another concert.

CAB intended to bring artist Lupe Fiasco to campus this fall, but without a sizable venue like the Robins Center to hold a large audience, the plan fizzled. After stage set up, the Robins Center can hold approximately 4,000 people. The only other possible venue is Camp Concert Hall, which holds about 600 -- far less than what is needed to generate enough ticket sales to warrant a headlining concert.

Aliza Norcross, CAB's vice president of campus relations, said the lack of an alternative venue continues to deter top artists from coming to campus.

"There's no place in between that works best for the size of our student body," she said.

Other issues prevent CAB from bringing acts to campus. Colleary, who has been part of CAB since her freshman year, said a lack of communication with university administration has continued to hold the group back.

"I feel like they don't even look at us or care," Colleary said. "We're on the level of being a very influential student organization, but we're not allowed the level of communication with the school other groups are given."

Colleary said CAB needed to be given more potential dates for on-campus concerts. With the organization's limited scheduling window, many artists simply can't fit the university into their touring routes.

Colleary said money was a problem as well. With the comedians and movie nights for which CAB is also responsible, she said the budget often came up short.

"We're still not getting enough funding," Colleary said. "And you can't help but think what the endowment is and what the students have to pay."

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CAB co-adviser Max Vest said bringing a medium-range band to campus cost around $75,000. Keeping ticket prices down for students means CAB rarely breaks even.

"We put these concerts on for a loss," Vest said.

Previous CAB concerts at the Robins Center have included Robert Randolph and the Family Band last fall and Yellowcard in 2005, which Colleary said was "a pretty big flop."

But the members of CAB remained hopeful they could book a top concert for the spring in place of one this semester. But the window of opportunity remains slim then, Vest said, with Easter, Festivus and alumni weekend all converging.

"But it's stuff we go through every year," he said, "and the questions and answers are always the same."

CAB's next event will be comedian Louis C.K., who will perform in Camp Concert Hall on Sept. 12.

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