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Changing keys: MAP pitches new ideas for annual campus concerts

By Amanda May
On April 24, 2014

Miami Activities and Programming (MAP) partners with the Performing Arts Series to bring entertainers to campus every year, particularly for Family Weekend in October and the annual spring concert. However, for the last two years, a large spring concert has not been scheduled.

The Arts, Culture and Entertainment (ACE) board, one of four student boards comprising Miami Activities and Programming (MAP), is in charge of bringing in artists for Miami students.

When trying to choose which artist should perform, the board considers artists students want as well as artists who approach the university on their own, said MAP President junior Maddy Haigh.

The Performing Arts Series helps MAP find talent, determine what is in the budget, negotiate prices and market the show. Director of the Performing Arts Series Patti Liberatore, who helps MAP find and secure entertainment, attributes the lack of spring concerts the past two years to various conflicts.

"The fact that we don't have a concert planned for this spring is just the result of a variety of circumstances, rather than anyone making a decision to not have shows in the spring," Liberatore said. "Not having a concert this year was an anomaly."

Haigh said many factors come into play that could cause conflicts when trying to book artists. These include technical issues, space availability, pricing and dates, among other problems.

"There are your factors on the Miami side, and then there are the artists' factors," Haigh said.

Miami can only offer to host an artist when a space, usually Millett, is available to hold the concert, which limits the number of possible dates. Then, one of these dates has to line up with a performer's schedule.

The last major spring concert MAP held was The Fray in 2012. In years prior, as many as four major entertainers visited Miami during just one school year.

In 2002-03 alone, the campus saw shows from the Counting Crows, John Mayer, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, and comedian Bill Cosby.

Since that year, however, there has been a decrease in the number of performers MAP has brought to campus, with some school years only seeing a single comedian and no musicians, such as with Jay Leno in 2008 or Jim Gaffigan in 2013.

For Family Weekend, Haigh said MAP is starting to focus on bringing in comedians instead of musicians, as they have previously done. Comedians seem to appeal better to both age groups and are something the family is more likely to attend together. They plan to continue this trend in the future. Haigh said following this year, MAP hopes to bring in a greater number of smaller artists throughout the year as opposed to only one large act in the spring. This will give them more flexibility with scheduling and leave funds to plan more performances throughout the year, as well as lower ticket prices for students to purchase, resulting in greater interest and attendance.

Sophomore Bijan Sharifi said that he would be more likely to attend concerts on campus if ticket prices were lowered.

MAP currently receives all of its funding from ASG through a pre-approved budget, with about $20,000 typically allocated for one of these events. The costs to bring in the artist vary widely based on the performers, and the ticket prices are then based on the costs to assure the concert pays for itself. The tickets can run up to $40 for one big name musician or comedian.

MAP and the Performing Arts Series are looking into a concert for next spring, although nothing has been set in stone. Family Weekend is their first priority, which is also currently in the planning stages, according to Liberatore.

"We always hope for concerts, but we try to be creative about it," Haigh said.


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