A female artist will headline the Springtime of Youth Music Festival for the first time in the event’s history.
Senior Riley Reed, the chair of the Headliners Concert Committee, and 11 other members of the committee, started planning the Springtime of Youth Concert in August and picked artists from music genres that received the most votes based on student surveys the committee sent out, she said.
“One thing the committee takes really seriously is diversity,” said Reed, who is majoring in journalism with a minor in sustainability. “We have actually never had a woman headline Springtime of Youth before, so that topic came up a lot. Especially me, being a woman chair, I just saw a lack of female representation in our past lineups.”
When the committee found out Kesha was available and that she was touring in Tulsa during the weekend of the concert, the members jumped at the opportunity, Reed said.
“We were are excited not just because she is a female but because her past albums have been incredible, and we love what she stands for as a big advocate for the LGBTQ community,” Reed said.
Their budget last year was around $550,000, and this year they were at $450,000, Reed said.
This year, the committee spent around $260,000 on Kesha, Pusha T, Smallpools and Jerles combined, Reed said. The additional fees include production, which is around $120,000 for the stage, security, tickets, artist hospitality, sound, lights and other variables, and the fall concert put on by the Headliners Concert Committee as well.
“That is why, last year, we were able to get an electronic dance music artist, which is something we cannot normally do because the production cost is so high. If we had an EDM artist this year, we would have only been able to have one or two artists. It is about finding the balance of finding enough artists to please the biggest amount of students versus a really cool EDM show, so we voted to do a wider array of artists.”
Sophomore Anna Cook, who is majoring in political science, is excited for Kesha because she is so familiar with Kesha’s music and has been listening to her since elementary school, she said.
“I would honestly pay a lot of money to see Kesha, and the fact that I get to see her for free, basically, is amazing,” Cook said.
The committee members offer the headliner a deal first because that is often where the bulk of the money for Springtime of Youth goes toward, Reed said. Once committee members struck a deal with Kesha, a pop singer, for $150,000, they then moved on to the next slot, which they had allocated for hip hop. Pusha T was both affordable and just as good as a more expensive act.
“We really got lucky with Pusha T, because we know he has really important features, having worked with artists like Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and other amazing rappers,” Reed said. “Even though we cannot afford Kendrick or Kanye, we can afford him, and we held him to that same caliber.”
The committee members also like to have a traditional band, or non-solo artist, so they chose Smallpools. They represent the alternative genre, which scored high on their survey, Reed said.
The survey is sent out annually to students and asks questions like, “Please rank your favorite genre of music from one to six, with one being the genre you are most interested in bringing to the Springtime of Youth Music Festival and six being the genre you are least interested in bringing,” “How do you hear about on-campus events” and an open-ended question where students could write which artists they wanted to hear, according to the survey.
This year, 1,669 people filled out the survey, helping the committee make their decisions on which artists to bring to the UofA, Reed said.
Because they canceled the Springtime of Youth concert in 2017 because of flooding, there was a larger budget allocated for artists in 2018 with leftover funds, Reed said.
“Our budget last year was around $550,000, and this year we’re at $450,000,” Reed said. “That is why, last year, we were able to get an EDM artist, which is something we cannot normally do because the production cost is so high. If we had an EDM artist this year, we would have only been able to have one or two artists. It is about finding the balance of finding enough artists to please the biggest amount of students versus a really cool EDM show, so we voted to do a wider array of artists.”
Senior Nick Geile, who is majoring in business management, is not happy with the lineup because of the change in genre of the headliner, he said.
“I think the lineup was not fully thought out for the audience it is meant for,” Geile said. “Kesha has not been relevant since we were in high school, and most people would not be able to name a single Pusha T song. EDM or big-name rappers have been a staple since I have been in college, and someone wanted to try something different for no reason. I personally will not be attending, and they will see their mistake with overall attendance or crowd reactions. This was really sad for me, as I am graduating in May and was hoping I would go out on a high note with a good Springtime of Youth.”
Junior Mariam Siddiqui, who is majoring in political science and international studies and is a member of the Headliners Concert Committee, is excited about the diversity of the lineup, she said.
“I am really happy with our lineup,” Siddiqui said. “We were super intentional about who we wanted to bring as well as the genres that we represented. I think with the budget and resources, this was the best lineup and just the most inclusive, as we are having our first LGBTQ female headliner.”
About 4,700 students have picked up tickets and 6,950 have reserved them as of April 12, Reed said.
The 2019 Springtime of Youth Music Festival will be at 3:30 p.m. April 27 at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Gates will open at 3:15 p.m., according to the Office of Student Activities.