The Student Entertainment Committee plans a variety of shows and events on campus, but in the past year, some trouble has arisen.
SEC receives a budget from Student Senate each year, which is split between the four different sub-committees including Concerts, Special Events, VIP/Speakers, and Advertising. Michael Nolfe, SEC advisor and Student Involvement Major Events Coordinator, said that SEC receives $76,000 for Speakers, $158,000 for Special Events and $166,000 for Concerts.
As a whole, SEC is already off to a better start this year than it was last year, Nolfe said. The Concerts Committee’s budget looks much better, and Iggy Azalea’s show started the semester with better results than last year’s. Azalea’s show sold 4,200 tickets, surpassing both concerts last year.
Last September, the Concerts Committee brought pop singer Kesha to URI, selling about 2,900 tickets. SEC Business Manager Peter Collins explained how the Concerts Committee believed that Kesha would be a good idea because her music seemed to appeal to a lot of people.
“In the Concerts Committee, everyone’s voice is heard,” Collins said. “We thought our campus would’ve liked to see her, and it was a surprise to us when the concert didn’t sell well.”
On Oct. 19, SEC is presenting Chance the Rapper on his Verge Campus tour, with opening acts Sweater Beats and Young and Sick. URI student tickets are $20, and general public tickets are $30. Nolfe said that 2,500 tickets are already sold for Chance and with this inclusive, less expensive price, he believes that students will be more likely to attend.
Collins said that since the Concert Committee’s budget is larger, they want to focus on popular artists that will sell well. In the past, SEC brought smaller acts at the time, like Ingrid Michaelson or Wiz Khalifa. SEC hopes to sell 3,000 tickets to Chance so the budget next semester will continue to stay in shape, Nolfe said.
Other committees in SEC are also performing well this year. Special Events hosted comedians Pete Holmes and Chris Thayer during Welcome Week on Sept. 2 to an audience of 350. Two movies were also screened at Meade Stadium with an outcome of between 600 and 700 students.
The VIP Committee is “on target,” Nolfe said. “Project Runway” host Tim Gunn, who spoke in Edwards Auditorium this past Sunday, sold 763 tickets, which is very successful for an Edwards show. Last year, Evan Peters, from “American Horror Story,” sold 500 tickets, and RJ Mitte, actor from “Breaking Bad,” only sold 350.
“Late Night” host Seth Meyers already has 3,000 tickets sold. With a month to go, catching up to last Fall’s Jim Gaffigan comedy act, which sold 4,500 tickets, is a possibility. In addition to Chance, members of the former MTV reality show, “The Buried Life,” will speak in Edwards for free on the same day of the concert. Nolfe said that “The Buried Life” show will actually help SEC’s budget because they’re a part of The Verge Campus tour as well.
“The committees should have no problem this year with breaking even, or getting close to breaking even,” Nolfe said.