UPAC cancels spring concert

Zach Bailey, Editor-In-Chief

The University Programming Activities Committee (UPAC) announced Friday, Feb. 23 that the annual Spring Concert would be cancelled this year due to low ticket sales.

The annual concert has slowly been declining in ticket sales since their last sold out show, which featured Timeflies, in spring of 2014. 

According to Tracy Rahim, Winona State University’s associate director of student activities & leadership, this is the first UPAC event of this scale to be cancelled.

“Have we had lower than hoped for numbers in the past, yes, but [the events have been] smaller and not as big of a financial hit,” Rahim said.

The annual concert first began in the mid-1990s, and has sold out for three shows in the past 10 years -Timeflies, Phillip Phillips and The Band Perry. This year’s concert was announced to be headlined by Nico & Vinz, a hip hop duo out of Norway most known for their 2013 single “Am I Wrong.”

The Spring Concert is held each year in the McCown Gymnasium, which holds 3,000 people, and according to Alyssa Wakeman, UPAC director, the concert normally sells into the mid-2,000s of tickets.

As of the cancellation of the concert Friday evening, 104 tickets had been purchased. Normally 200-500 tickets are sold to students before the tickets go on sale to the general public each year.

“Students have such a wide variety of music interests, with so many musicians out there they only que in on certain groups,” Rahim said. “Lots of people wanted to see Fetty Wap. If we had $250,000 we would [bring him], but we had to bring in the best artist that was available, that were also willing to come to a college campus.”

With the cancellation of this year’s concert, however, the future of the annual Spring Concert is currently unknown.

“I’m about 99 percent sure we won’t have [a Spring Concert] next year and the year after,” Wakeman said. “We never rely on ticket sales to pay for the concert, only money we already have.”

A majority of each year’s Spring Concert budget consists of rollover amounts from the previous year, and because UPAC is still required to pay the artist fee of around $30,000, this could affect the possibilities of large-scale events such as the Spring Concert in the future.

“Why would we hold [the Spring Concert] if no one’s going to buy tickets,” Wakeman said.

Last year’s concert featured Andy Grammer, and was the lowest selling concert up until this year, selling around 1,200 tickets. Last year’s concert also took place during both Winona’s Mid-West Music Fest and was also the weekend before Winona State’s finals week, which both Wakeman and Rahim credited the low ticket sales to.

“This has been a really big blow to UPAC,” Rahim said. “[The students] have been working on it since October, researching, going through contracting and offerings. UPAC does listen to what students want and does the best job they can with the budget they’re given, the artists who are willing to come and their availability.”