Members of the University Activities Center, Big Ticket Productions, UM Hillel and the Michigan Student Assembly have been developing plans for a major concert this fall.
The two major contenders at this stage are Kanye West and Ludacris, though at this point in time the groups have not set a final date for the show, or confirmed an act.
The show will most likely be October 6, 7 or 20, said Andrew Bilinsky, vice president of Big Ticket Productions. If the concert is held on October 20 — homecoming weekend — Hillel will not be involved because of prior obligations, Bilinsky said.
BTP President Mary Roeder said that a hip-hop artist would represent the diverse interests of the school. Ranjan Radhamohan, president of UAC said that BTP and UAC are committed to bringing diverse and recognizable acts to campus, and that during discussions with MSA, a hip-hop act was considered due to the current popularity of the genre among students.
Bilinsky said that West was an obvious choice because of his broad appeal, and that it was likely he would be chosen over Ludacris for the event, although there is no final decision yet.
Melton Lee, co-chair of MSA’s minority affairs commission, said West will begin touring for promotion of his new album in the fall, and that he would be an extremely popular act to book.
MSA president Jesse Levine said that he believed MSA’s involvement in hosting a popular concert could have a positive effect on student awareness and participation in MSA.
“One of the greatest concerns of our constituents was that there was a lack of big-name concerts on campus. This would be the first time a major hip-hop artist act was brought to campus,” Levine said.
Levine also discussed the possibility of Ludacris enthusiastically, saying he was a good candidate because of his recent activism, including speaking at the national meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and involvement in the independent film “Crash,” a film that ties a diverse cast into a story about race relations in Los Angeles.
Levine said that promoting good community relations are a top priority for MSA.
“Ludacris has recently devoted much of his time to social justice work. This coincides greatly with work MSA has done this year,” Levine said.
MSA has also been developing “the day of CHANGE” — creating a healthy and new generation of equality — an event scheduled to take place in early September that seeks to stimulate curiosity and learning about social identities through interactive activities.
One such interactive activity for the day of CHANGE will have participants choose a social label, such as race, ethnicity, gender, nationality or sexuality, and discuss in groups what that label means to them, what stereotypes they believe exist about them and what they feel societies general perception of them to be.
Bilinsky said that the majority of the costs would be fairly evenly split between Big Ticket Productions and MSA, with MSA perhaps contributing a slightly greater amount. Bilinsky said that the fee for Ludacris would be about $60,000 and production costs would be about $20,000. Roeder said that West would probably be more expensive than Ludacris. In combination with other expenses, Bilinsky estimated the cost of the concert would be about $85,000-$90,000, and that while at this point no prices have been set, without subsidies from the University ticket prices would be between $20 and $30 depending on seating.
MSA brought Michael Moore to speak at Hill Auditorium last year, his speaking fee was about $2,000, allowing ticket prices for the event to be set at around $5 and still generate about $6,000 of profit for MSA, Levine said. Levine also said that another idea for an event would be to bring Jon Stewart to speak at campus, in addition to hosting a major concert.
Bilinsky said he believed the concert this October would generate a profit for all the sponsors involved.
“We would expect tickets to sell out the first day,” Bilinsky said.