USG hosts last concert of year

USGs+new+executive+director+Marvin+Logan+tosses+frisbees+to+the+crowd+before+the+opening+acts+of+Flashfest+Thursday%2C+April+24%2C+2014.+USG+is+responsible+for+all+of+the+planning+and+execution+of+Flashfest.

USG’s new executive director Marvin Logan tosses frisbees to the crowd before the opening acts of Flashfest Thursday, April 24, 2014. USG is responsible for all of the planning and execution of Flashfest.

Endya Watson

As the Undergraduate Student Government programming board geared up for FlashFest, members had much to say about some success and some failure with this year’s events.

Along with director of programming Marvin Logan, there are six members of the programming board. Logan said the board’s role is to provide and plan large-scale entertainment events throughout the year.  

This year, USG Programming planned four events, in addition to co-sponsoring Blastoff and the ‘Round Town Music Festival.  

For the first three events, the board has welcomed the band Grouplove, comedian Wyatt Cenac and films from Colorado’s annual Mountainfilm Festival.

Members of the programming board unanimously agreed that collaboration as a team contributed to the success of events, but ineffective marketing had a negative effect on events.

Andrew Cappuzzello, junior integrated math major and board member, said he felt students enjoyed the Grouplove concert, and the band benefited.

“After the Grouplove tour, they went to a bunch of college campuses and got a lot bigger than what they had been previously,” Cappuzzello said. “We time these concerts where the band is getting popular when they come here so we’re kind of like a middleman in that process of getting them big.”

The board aimed to sell 2,000 tickets for the Grouplove concert and more than 1,400 were sold.

Kevin Otubu, sophomore entrepreneurship major and board member, said despite not reaching ticket-sale goals, the event was a success internally.

“This event ran a lot smoother than ones I’ve worked with previously,” Otubu said. “The crew really came together, and we were able to execute everything as planned.”

One downfall this year, programmers agreed, was marketing.

Logan said he feels issues with effective marketing communication had a negative influence on one event in particular.

Comedian Wyatt Cenac hosted programming’s comedy tour in November. Logan said the event did not meet expectations.

“Since my four years of being with programming, I’m pretty positive it was the worst-attended event we’ve ever had,” Logan said.

The event, which took place in Cartwright Hall, had about a 50-student audience. Logan attributes the lack of attendance to the location.

“To have a program in Cartwright, because of its location, it takes really good marketing,” Logan said. “I think we failed on some of the aspects of getting students to that event.”

On Thursday, programming had its final and largest event: FlashFest. This year celebrated the 20th anniversary of the event.  

Alex Vaccarello, junior hospitality management major and board member, said there were some changes from last year.

“This year, we’re aiming to keep it outside as long as there are no weather issues,” Vaccarello said. “We’re making it an all-day festival kind of thing with a bunch of activities leading up to the concert.”

The acts for FlashFest — Scavenger Hunt, Ab-Soul and Capital Cities — were announced on April 2 via Logan’s Twitter page. Cappuzzello said students had a mixed reaction to the line up.

“I know Ab-Soul’s getting a lot of excitement,” Cappuzzello said. “I think some people are confused and not familiar with Capital Cities, but I feel like if they gave them a listen, people would see they have really good music and put on a good show.”

Vaccarello said she agreed that despite the response, students would still enjoy the band.  

“From Twitter, there wasn’t too great of a feedback,” Vaccarello said. “But Capital Cities does a really good job live. I think it will go really well and people will be surprised.”

USG adviser Donna Carlton said the three main factors that go into the decision for the FlashFest line-up are availability, cost and location — that is, if the artist will already be on tour somewhere near Ohio around the date of FlashFest.

Logan said the board also compares popular artists on Billboard charts, uses social media analytics to determine an artist’s popularity within the area and considers student interest.

Looking at the year in full, board members said there are some things they would like to see improvement on in coming years.

Otubu said he hopes to see more effective use of social media next year.

“Social media is one of the easiest ways to market, but this year, we didn’t do as great of a job as we could have,” Otubu said. “I really think it’s the best tool we can use, so I would like to see it utilized better next year.

Logan said he would like to see the programming board take more risk in providing entertainment for students.

“We need to be willing to take risks in giving students what they want,” Logan said. “If we need to take a risk and spend a large portion of our budget on a concert, I do think there are some artists out there that would give us a worthwhile return on investment.”

Cappuzzello said even with this year’s hits and misses, he enjoys the end result of the programming board’s events.

“As a board, we did everything in our power to bring the best events possible,” Cappuzzello said. “It’s one of the most rewarding feelings to sit back, relax and see everyone having fun; that’s the big pay-off.”

For more information about the Undergraduate Student Government’s services, visit http://www.kentstateusg.com/servicesindex/#allocations.

Contact Endya Watson at [email protected].