Concert FAQs

Artists submitted as suggestions that are out of budget:

Beyonce, Drake, Jay Z, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, J Cole, Chance the Rapper, Rihanna, Imagine Dragons, Bruno Mars, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Chris Brown, Green Day, Childish Gambino, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Chainsmokers, One Republic, Twenty One Pilots, Travis Scott, John Mayer, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Macklemore, Maroon 5, Rascal Flatts, Harry Styles, Coldplay, Sam Hunt, Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Niall Horan, Guns n Roses, Fall Out Boy, Paul McCartney, Selena Gomez, Zedd, Carrie Underwood, Steve Aoki, Demi Lovato, Lorde, Shawn Mendes, Afrojack, and Eminem.

While we think all of the above artists are phenomenal options that we would love to host at UConn, unfortunately, they are out of our budget. Many artists reach a point in their career where they shift from doing college shows to massive world tours and major festival performances. A lot of the artists that we’ve hosted (Kendrick, Cole, Gambino, Kanye, etc.) have blown up to have huge careers. When they were booked, their careers and fees were at a significantly lower level. Putting all of these artists performance fees aside, they just aren’t doing many college shows anymore. They’re headlining Coachella, selling out football stadiums, performing at the Super Bowl and looking to perform at enormous shows. With that said, we keep an eye on all of these artists to arrange travel trips to their show if and when they are touring in the area. We invite you to do the same and let us know if there’s any tours you think would be worth looking into. This isn’t a no, but definitely something to consider when suggesting these artists, or artists like them.

Artists submitted as suggestions that have been selected recently:

Halsey, Partynextdoor, Charli XCX, Aminé, Schoolboy Q, A$AP Ferg, Lil Yachty, H.E.R., Jon Bellion, Walk the Moon, and Big Gigantic.

We love these artists just as much as you do! That’s why we’ve gone to one of their shows or hosted them. We may see one of them again but keep in mind we do our best to switch up the artists that we see. These artists have been apart of a show or a travel trip within the last 4 years which means that there are students currently at UConn that have already seen them, through SUBOG. The overall goal is to not repeat artists if we don’t have to. As said above, it could happen, but it’s good to understand our thought process.

Why do we use the lottery for ticket distribution?

We started doing the ticket lottery back in April of 2014 when our ticketing system crashed. When everyone tried to buy tickets for that year’s spring concert, the system couldn’t handle all the traffic and shut down. This same scenario occurred many times after this as well. Anyone who has followed our shows knows that we haven’t had the best track record, in terms of a stable ticketing system. Since, we used the lottery system as a way to fairly allow people to buy tickets without the fiasco of a crashing system. With that said, we know it has a lot of flaws that we would like to avoid as well. We are looking at other methods for this upcoming show so if you have any suggestions, feel free to reach out, it’s how we get better.

Why wasn’t (insert artist here) listed on the survey?

Our surveys are not fully encompassing of all the different artist possibilities. There are thousands of artists that someone may want to see at a SUBOG Concert. Those names listed were options that have been previously requested by students. You are always free to submit any name(s) you’d like through email or through the ‘other’ field on a survey. We intentionally consider all suggestions and opinions submitted, even if it was not explicitly listed on our survey. With this, there were a lot of additional options submitted that we would like to get more feedback on. We have created a second survey including artists that are affordable, and were written in as a suggestion. Complete that survey at: bit.ly/ConcertOpeners.

Can we use a bigger location for concerts that fits more students?

Each year and each show, we re-evaluate our venue and location options to be sure were making the right decision for that specific show. Size of the location is an important variable as we want to fit as many students as physically possible. Options like the XL Center and Pratt & Whitney Stadium definitely could fit more students than Gampel could. But, we also recognize that we haven’t had problems with accommodating students at our shows in Gampel. For many years, there have always been seats available at our shows for students to buy. However, we know that there is a demand for more floor seats, which may be a good reason to move to a different location. We consider these possibilities just as we consider ways to expand floor seats at Gampel. No option is perfect, but we acknowledge all of them nonetheless.

Why can’t we bring our bags into the venue?

Per UConn and Gampel’s security policies, bags are not allowed inside the venue as they have the potential to create a security risk to other students or attendees. We understand the want, or even need, to bring some of your belongings, but we prioritize your safety above all else.

How do you select artists for a show?

The artist selection process is a long one that goes through many different stages. The process as a whole begins at the beginning of a school year, in August, and doesn’t end until an artist is announced. In short, this is what it looks like:

1st: We collect some early information about what the music trends are and artist’s that are currently on the minds of UConn students.

2nd: We use that information to compile a large list of artists that are in demand but still affordable.

3rd: We take that list and get direct feedback and votes through surveys, committee meetings, and focus groups.

4th: We examine the results and bring in other variables. Can the artist perform well live? Does the artist promote negative social messages that may be harmful to UConn? Is the artist on the verge of superstardom? We ask ourselves a lot of these questions including our most recent addition, is the artist a liability in terms of arriving on time or arriving at all? This step is important to booking a good artist, but also creating a great show.

5th: We look into artist availability. Everything may be perfect about an artist except the fact that they’re on a Europe tour during the month of April, or they’re doing another performance on the date of our show, or maybe they’ve got personal stuff going on that prevents them from coming here. Regardless of their reason, if an artist isn’t available or willing to come, we can’t select them.

6th: We make sure the artist is still affordable. The music landscape changes so quickly. By the time we have reached a consensus as a school, an artist may be 10x the price compared to when we initially looked into them. We move as quickly as possible to prevent this from happening as this is one of the worst blows that can happen in the selection process. Just like you, we get our hearts set on someone and they slip away at the last minute. It happens, but we always have tons of great options to consider.

7th: We place an offer for an artist that meets all of the criteria and then we wait to hear back.

8th: We hear back from the artist and we begin negotiating a contract. This stage is essential as an artist may have accepted an offer, but it isn’t official until the contract is signed. For that reason, we can’t announce an artist until the contract is officially finished.

9th: We repeat steps 1 through 8 to place another artist on the lineup. This time around, we have to consider how will the artists blend together in one show? What genres have we satisfied and what other genres should we target?

10th: We announce a lineup.

Can you increase the money spent on concerts and decrease in smaller SUBOG events to offset the costs?

Being Concert Committee, we would never be opposed to more money for concerts, but, at the expense of other committee’s events is a different conversation. SUBOG puts on a little under 150 events every school year. While some people may only care for the concerts, there are some students that don’t like concerts but find enjoyment in all of the other events. SUBOG’s goal is to do our best to appeal to all of the different student interests at UConn as they all equally fund our budget.

The only way to increase the whole budget is to increase the student activity fee within tuition every year. To do that, you must petition the Student Fee Advisory Committee (SFAC) and request that they do. Essentially, you’d be asking to increase tuition to pay for the concerts, which is not an easy sell.

Lastly, per UConn rules, Tier III organizations, including SUBOG, are not allowed to actively fundraise or take donations for more funding. We are investigating other revenue options to increase funding but unfortunately fundraising cannot be one of them.

Discussing budgets and funding as a whole is no easy conversation. There is always going to be things that we could be doing better and we are constantly considering new methods. The SUBOG budget is re-evaluated every academic year and your feedback is helpful.

How do you decide on the genre of the concert? What about smaller genre representation?

Deciding on artist genre is definitely one of the most challenging tasks our committee wrestles with. Being honest, the challenge is that the majority of feedback we always get is to have a Hip Hop concert. But, we also recognize that acknowledging and including the minority is essential to maintaining a great concert program. Our goal is always to book different artists that appeal to our Hip Hop fans as well as our non-Hip Hop fans. Sometimes we accomplish the perfect lineup in one show, sometimes we achieve it through the range of trips and shows throughout the year, and sometimes we just miss the mark. Regardless, it is something we continuously work on and we always encourage your feedback.

Why do you choose an artist by majority vote if the majority is mostly one ethnicity?

We consider a lot of different variables when choosing artists and student votes is just one of those variables. Our goal is to satisfy all the different demographics on campus, not just the majority. We recognize that if we are always accepting the majority, we are also always neglecting the minority. Thanks for reminding us of this and we encourage and review all suggestions, no matter how small.

Is it possible to buy a Meet & Greet ticket to see the artist?

We hesitate to sell Meet & Greet tickets as there is no predicting the artist’s willingness once they arrive to UConn. These artists are people that have fluctuating moods just like we do. The last thing we want to do is sell you something we couldn’t guarantee would actually happen when it came time. Currently the best and only way to meet an artist is to join the concert committee by attending the meetings weekly.

How do we stay in contact with the artist until the show?

We remain in constant contact with our artists camps from the time that we place an offer to the days following the show. After an offer is accepted, we need to remain in communication to discuss advertisements, openers, ticket sales, hospitality accommodations, production setup, merchandise, and so many other show specific details. Given recent events, we have stressed the importance of getting artists into the state the night before or the early morning of a show. While the artist may not be physically in the venue yet, their management team is, well before they are. Overall, it’s a large team effort to setting up all the details we need to get the show up and running which is why we are always communicating.

What happens when an artist cancels? How can we prevent that from happening? Why don’t we reschedule?

When an artist cancels, we have no choice but to cancel the show. Artists are not able to voluntarily cancel a show once our contract is signed, which happens before we announce the artist. The only reason an artist could cancel would be through an act of nature, that was unpreventable through other means. These situations are extremely rare and unexpected.

The situation last year was not a voluntary cancellation or the artist choosing not to show up. The artist was not able to physically to get to Gampel as all flights that day were delayed then cancelled because of a massive thunderstorm. With that, situations like that will always exist, even though our priority is getting the artist to the venue.

The reason it’s not that easy to reschedule is because we book artists months before the show. We secure their availability for one day, not for multiple days, and therefore their schedule won’t allow for a reschedule within the little weeks we have left in the school year. Also, while we do not have to pay the artist in these situations, we have to pay for every other cost like security and production. If we were to reschedule, we would essentially be paying for two spring concerts, which we could not afford.

With this said, there are definitely things that we could absolutely do better given the cancellation last year. Communication is definitely one of them. Last year was one of those situations that no one expected but we’ve been able to learn a lot from it. We’ve added many different steps and precautions from preventing the situation last year from happening again. Our goal is always to actually have the concert that we spent months planning. But, as we learned, things happen and you can only look forward.

Are we allowed to transfer our tickets to a friend?

Our tickets are not transferable after purchase, and it is necessary that we begin enforcing this policy for many different reasons. For security purposes, it is essential that we have a record of who is at the event. Unofficial transfers through ‘Buy or Sell’ make this impossible. Also, when learning from the problems of last year’s spring show, the transferred tickets creating a large problem in issuing refunds. When a ticket is re-sold or given away, our records reflect something different than reality. When attempting to issue refunds, we only had the means to refund the original purchaser, but those purchasers may have sold their tickets to someone else. It was for that reason we needed to collect ticket stubs and issue refunds through the gift card process. Further, our ticket system prioritizes UConn Storrs undergraduates, unofficial sales are unable to do that. Due to these, and many other reasons, tickets are not allowed to be transferred to another person, for any reason. We strongly recommend that you do not buy or sell a concert ticket, unless through our system, as methods need to be implemented to enforce this policy. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

The floor is not full at the concerts, why aren’t we allowed down?

Our top priority is to always include as many students as possible. We put your priorities way before our own. The capacity numbers are determined by the UConn Fire Marshal and there isn’t much to any room for us to “negotiate,” if that makes sense. At the fall concert this year, we reached that capacity on the floor. They determine the numbers based on safety. With that said, once we hit that number on the floor, we have to sell out and cap it. If we were to not, the whole show could be stopped. This isn’t specific to UConn, this is the same for every concert or public event in the country. It may look like there is space, but, if we’ve hit that limit, we are legally not allowed to permit anyone else onto the floor. One thing we can control is making the balcony a better experience and if you have any suggestions feel free to let us know.

Can you increase security and crowd control at the concerts?

Absolutely. In light of recent national and global events, we have been greatly increasing the security presence at our concerts. We dedicate a lot of time and money into making sure our shows are not just enjoyable but also safe. We could have the best artists and the largest attendance but it wouldn’t mean much if someone got hurt in the process. This is a top priority that will remain consistent at all of our concerts, each year.

Can you get people into the building quicker?

We are currently creating ways to improve line control and logistics for our future shows. We notice the lengths of the lines and we understand it’s frustrating to have to wait. Our priority is security and safety over speed but there are definitely methods to achieving both. The goal is to work them out sooner rather than later.

Can we have one bigger concert instead of two concerts?

This was a great question to get as we were contemplated this idea for the this school year, not too long ago. Traditionally in the past, we ran three concerts throughout the year: a fall, winter, and spring. As we continued to get an increasing demand to increase the quality of our shows, we decided to take another look at that setup. Internally, we had the quality versus quantity debate. Our new approach is to focus on creating great shows, not a lot of shows. We’ve begun doing the concert travel trips as a way to keep the concert demand satisfied between our shows.

The reason we decided to stick to two, rather than just one has to do with including different genres and artists. With just one show, we run the risk of not being able to satisfy different music tastes throughout the year. If there was one show, and you didn’t like the artist, there wouldn’t be a show for you all year. By doing one show a semester, there’s a greater chance that each student will like a concert, if not both. This was our thought process for this school year, and it could be re-evaluated when deciding the structure for next year.

Why do we need an opener? Can we just book one headliner?

More often than not, the headliner requires an opener that they approve to perform at our concert. Contractually, we have to meet that requirement and dedicate the funds to booking that additional artist.

Can students have the opportunity to open the concerts?

We would love to give students the opportunity to open for a show. Before we book openers for our shows, the headliner must agree and approve them. Some of the time, artists aren’t willing to have students open up for the show, for whatever reason. It is something we ask every concert and we will again for upcoming shows.

Why is only one guest per student allowed?

Aside from ticket revenue, our concert’s are primarily funded by a portion of the student activity fee, paid by UConn Storrs undergraduates. For that reason, we always want to prioritize welcoming UConn Storrs undergraduate students at our concerts so you are receiving the benefits of the fee. We recognize that sometimes you want to bring your friends that don’t go here. But, each guest ticket sold is one less available to a UConn student that should have priority. In the past, we’ve compromised by allowing one guest per UConn student. We are evaluating how we can do this differently, while still prioritizing UConn Storrs students. Stay tuned for more information coming in the near future.

Why aren’t regional or graduate students able to attend the concerts?

As referenced previously, while regional campus and graduate students are UConn students, they do not pay the student activity fee by which SUBOG Concerts are funded. While we must always prioritize UConn Storrs undergraduates, we are look also looking at ways to include both regional and graduate students in future concerts. Stay tuned for more information coming in the near future.

Can you sell merchandise at the shows?

Recently, we have been encouraging artist’s to bring their tour merchandise as well as creating event specific merchandise. This option is always left up to the artist but we are working to accommodate this idea at our next show.

Can you sell food and drinks at the concerts?

We’ve been exploring the possibility and we aren’t exactly sure just yet. It’s on our minds and maybe we can work something out for later shows.