Every two years for the past 16 years during the weekend of Muskiepalooza, Muskingum University has put on a free concert for students, named the Big Concert.
“The students really enjoy the concert that we hold every two years, it’s something that they look forward to, it’s something that they plan for,” said Ashley Walley, Student Life Coordinator and Chair of the Big Concert Committee.
The concert is held every two years to allow the account that funds Big Concert to accumulate enough money to obtain an artist that is noteworthy and recognizable to students.
“If Muskingum was to host a concert every year we would be booking people that nobody knew who they were, but with the budget that we operate on right now we’re able to get people who are either rising on the charts or who have songs already in the Top 40,” said Walley.
The process of finding an artist for the Big Concert has evolved over the years since it began.
This year’s process for finding an act for Big Concert started in Fall 2015 when a poll of genres was put on OrgSync [Muskingum’s online community communication network] for students to vote. After a week and a half of voting, the vote came out to be in favor of the genre of country.
“Two years ago there was a lot of controversy over the artist that was booked, [though] he was the most voted artist in our poll,” said Walley. “What ended up happening was I saw a lot of students who said ‘I don’t like this person I’m not going to go’ went to the concert and actually enjoy[ed] it and I think part of it is that students will enjoy a free concert regardless of who the performer is and whether they like them or not.”
After the voting process for the genre, Walley works with a middle agent within the budget range for the Big Concert to create a list of top 10 picks for the event.
From there, six to eight different names are chosen out of that list and another poll is generated for students on the specific performer. The artist with the most votes is not always going to necessarily be the person performing at the Big Concert.
“We do put a disclaimer on our polls saying that these are just suggestions, their availability and their pricing is subject to change so it’s not a guarantee based on who you vote for,” said Walley.
Some of the potential acts that were put out this year included: Cassadee Pope, David Nail, Kellie Pickler, Easton Corbin, Eric Paslay, Jerrod Niemann, and Parmalee. Easton Corbin was the artist with the most votes according the Muskingum OrgSync poll.
The planning and execution of the actual concert event falls on the students involved with the Big Concert Committee.
The committee is broken into four different subcommittees allowing students to be involved with several different parts of the planning process.
The subcommittees include logistic members who are in charge of backstage passes, set up in The Recreation Center and Atrium, and communication among the different subcommittees.
A marketing committee promotes the actual event, creates the actual unveiling of the headliner, and monitors the different polls that are put out for the students.
A volunteer recruitment committee enlists the help of students to help with the loading and unloading of the event. A hospitality committee caters to the headliner and opening act on the day of the performance.
“The students that serve on the committee get to have this ownership of this really cool, awesome, large-scale event that only gets to happen every two years, so to have a hand in the planning and execution of that is something to be really excited and proud of,” said Walley.
An artist has signed a contract with the university for the Big Concert and will be announced soon.
The Big Concert will be during Muskiepalooza weekend Saturday, April 23. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert is slated to start at 8 p.m. at The Recreation Center.