Student Programming Board (SPB) might be one of the newest organizations on campus, but it’s hit the ground running. The student group responsible for planning and executing Dandelion Day says it’s been creative in putting together a great event this year, with one of the biggest names in recent memory as the concert headliner.
Technically, SPB isn’t a brand-new organization. It was formed a year ago when Campus Activities Board (CAB) and UR Concerts merged, a move initiated by the administration to better manage the two organizations’ budgets. SPB Co-President and senior Adrian Petrou was studying abroad when the merger happened—she was previously a member of CAB—but returned to lead the unified front with fellow senior and Co-PresidentLauren Birnbaum.
Senior Kylie Sargeant and junior Kavyasri Nagumotu are the co-chairs for Dandelion Day, responsible for planning the carnival and its events. This year, they’ve squeezed every last drop out of their budget to put on a bigger event, Nagumotu said.
“We’re getting three rides this year, which we haven’t done [before],” she explained, adding that this year’s carnival will feature a wider range of food trucks as well.
Petrou pointed out that ticket sales for the food trucks, which can be purchased with declining, have been a bottleneck in the past. This year, tickets will be sold at flex tables in Wilson Commons on Thursday, a change the organizers hope will decrease wait times.
And what about the Dandelion Day concert, arguably the most talked-about event? This year’s headliner, rapper Big Sean, is probably the most famous performer in recent memory, but also the most expensive. The opportunity to hire Big Sean for the concert came unexpectedly, the team explained.
“The biggest change for this year is [Students’ Association] Government reached out to us and wanted to give us additional money for the concert,” Petrou said.
The organization uses their budget to pay for the stage setup, sound engineering, lighting, and other peripheral needs, then receives additional money from the College to pay for the actual cost of the performer. This year, that total was $80,000. They were then given an additional $40,000 by SA Goverment.
“It was kind of late in the planning period,” Nagumotu said, “so we had to go back to the drawing board with the artist, and think about what bigger artists we could get with the expanded budget.”
The organizers were cagey about saying who might have been hired to perform had they not received the additional money, but cited rappers ScHhoolboy Q and Waka Flocka Flame as potential options. They had selected the genre before anything else, based on the results of a survey of over 600 students.
“We also had a lot of students reach out to us this year, in advocating to have a rap concert for Dandelion Day,” Petrou said.
That level of student input and involvement is unprecedented. In addition, the 15 members of SPB’s e-board worked together this year to select the performer, Sargeant said—a far cry from the old system.
“The past three years when I was here, for UR Concerts, only the presidents would work on the D-Day concert,” she explained. “So we always had two Co-Presidents and it was always a secret to the rest of e-board.”
Is there a reason SPB keeps the performer a secret up to the last minute, rather than announcing it earlier to build hype and excitement?
It’s partly out of tradition, but Sargeant pointed out that they also want to avoid making an announcement and then having to renege for logistical reasons.
“And it’s a private concert,” Nagumotu added, “so we don’t want it to spread to the community and outside.”
Finally, the question on many students’ minds—will we ever see Smash Mouth perform at Dandelion Day?
“Oh, I’m pro-Smash Mouth,” Sargeant laughed.
Nagumotu agreed. They said that the band is well within their budget—at only $10,000 per show, Smash Mouth could easily be hired as an opener or headliner for the show. And as far as the members of SPB know, they’re perfectly happy to perform at colleges. But there’s an opposing faction in SPB as well.
“Lauren and I were very anti-Smash Mouth,” Petrou said. “I think it’s the fact that it’s been a running joke for so long—it would be very inappropriate to actually ask them to perform. I feel like it would be asking Nickelback to perform.”
She said she thinks the running joke got its start several years ago when UR Concerts made a faux-announcement as an April Fool’s joke.
Even though Sargeant is a senior, she remains firmly in favor of the band performing in the future.
“If Smash Mouth came, I’d come back for it,” she said.
Petrou noted that she doesn’t want to disappoint students by suggesting that it’s anything more than a running gag. She added that if SPB ever did chose them as the Dandelion Day performer, the president would have the ability to veto the decision—although that could be overruled by two-thirds of the e-board.
Maybe Smash Mouth fans should be grateful that Dandelion Day is happening at all—a decade ago, Petrou said, day drinking was even more prevalent than it is now, and the administration almost shut down the tradition entirely. The concert is part of an effort to keep students engaged and limit the alcoholic aspect of the day.
After all, “you can’t be too trashed” if you want to make it to the 7 p.m. concert, Petrou joked.