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Orientation concert fails to attract the majority of Concordia students

by admin September 14, 2010

Despite holding the concert on campus, packing a line-up with big names in Canadian music and revitalizing their bracelet distribution strategy, the Concordia Student Union’s annual Orientation Concert last week was marred by mediocre attendance.

“We were expecting around 6000 people, but we got a little bit less than 4000,” said Andres Lopez, the CSU’s VP student life and the main organizer of the event which headlined three-time Juno award winner K’naan and Montreal’s very own Chromeo.

Lopez admitted that despite what he felt was an aggressive marketing campaign, there were still many students who simply were not reached by the advertising.

“Even though we did really good marketing, it’s very hard to reach 30, 000 students,” he said. “So we did our best.”

Lopez recounted how on Thursday morning, the day of the show, he was asking students in the hall whether they would be attending and was greeted with reactions of surprise, with many completely unaware as to the event and performers.

This was the case for first-year human relations student Marlene Tawfik who found out about the event the morning of after she was texted by a friend. “I don’t think that everyone knew about it,” she said.

In total, approximately 8000 bracelets were printed, Lopez said, but only around 6500 were distributed, still over 2000 more than the number of students that actually attended the event.

These numbers come despite a campaign that saw students dressed as superheroes running around campus handing out information, booths stationed in multiple areas on both campuses and a new mobile website to promote the event.

The changes were a massive improvement from the previous year’s concert, where bracelets were only given out at the CSU’s office on the seventh floor of the Hall building where students were forced into long line-ups. This year, in contrast, volunteers at line-less tables across campus could be seen yelling at passing students encouraging them to get a bracelet and attend the event.

“They were giving them out at John Molson,” said second-year Commerce student Mariel Langlois, “so I just walked up to the table and got it right away.”

More improvements from the Snoop Dogg-headlined concert in 2009 include the fact that the artists performed almost exactly as scheduled, shuttle bus transport chauffeured students to and from the venue, and the location on the Loyola Quad was offered to the CSU at no charge.

Another positive taken away by Lopez is that, other than an overly intoxicated female student who was taken to the hospital, there were no security-related incidences, unsurprising considering the mass of security guards on hand. Along with some campus security, guards from hired company Maximum Security were stationed about every ten metres along the fence enclosing the concert area and spotters could be seen keeping watch from the roof of the psychology building.

“Especially being on campus we wanted to invest a bit more into security,” Lopez said. “I mean it’s our campus, we want to have fun but we also want to preserve it.”

He added that after meeting with campus security following the event, he was actually congratulated and told to “keep in talks for next year.”

Student response from those in attendance also offered a generally positive outlook on the entire event.

“Honestly the show was amazing, K’naan is one of my favourite artists,” said first-year political science major Terrence Adams. “The crowd action, everyone was excited, it was amazing!”

The night also went well for political science student Alexander Louis who said, “It was a great experience and we’re definitely going to repeat the it for next year.”

Despite the lower-than expected turnout, Lopez called the event a total success. “The people I’ve talked to, administration, students, everyone seems really happy with the turnout.”

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