Entertainment ToKnight will not be hosting a Large Event this year in order to double funds for the 2014 Large Event performer.
The ETK executive board recently created a plan for students to be more involved in the process of picking an artist, based on the decision made in April not to have a Large Event.
“There hasn’t been large attendance at these events,” Director of Campus Programming Ashley Lang said. “I think one of the frustrations is that the student body has no say in the artist. Students are paying for these activities, that’s why we want them to come.”
By setting aside this year’s Large Event funds, Lang said ETK will be able to choose from a whole new level of performers for the 2014 show. The budget will be a combination of the 2013 and 2014 Large Event funds.
“It’s opening the door for a larger event next year that people will be exponentially more excited about,” ETK President Cody Osegard said.
Lang said ticket sales for Large Event have been in decline for the last four years. In 2009, David Cook’s performance sold 1,116 tickets. Last year, Javier Colon sold 346. Lang said the attendance for Colon was actually lower because many tickets were not picked up.
Lang said that for seniors, the news of no Large Event this year may be disappointing.
“Most of the upperclassmen I’ve talked to realized they didn’t go to the last few large events anyway,” she said. “Once you explain the reasoning, most students are excited.”
Senior Daniel Mysnyk is not happy about missing his last Large Event.
“I’m obviously disappointed that the senior class is getting thrown under the bus, but if this means that Wartburg will be able to bring in a big name next year, I can see why ETK would make this move,” Mysnyk said.
ETK members attended the National Association for Campus Activities regional preview of performers in St. Paul, Minn. in March. They saw extremes in prices and quality of performers: inexpensive, low-level performers versus very pricy, almost impossible-to-book performers, Lang said.
“We can’t just get anybody on a dime. We’re a smaller school, smaller campus,” Osegard said. “Why are we spending as much as we are, when we can’t even fill up Neumann? By doing this, we can put ourselves into a new price budget for performers.”
After the NACA preview, Lang said, “We pretty much unanimously decided that this was the best way to go forward.”
Senior Jordan Kaiser said it “makes sense to give someone a chance to see a better artist,” and that he has not attended any of the Large Events anyway.
Junior Jordan Finch attended the last two Large Events and is still excited about the new plan.
“The past two have not been that popular. It’s worth it to have it every two years if they can get someone better and get more people there,” Finch said.
ETK is also creating a survey for students about what kind of artist they’d like to have for Large Event. The survey will ask them to pick a type of performer (comedian, singer, band) and students can write in their suggestions. These selections would be narrowed down to five that fit within budget and availability, and then students would vote out of that pool.
“We really want to leave the decision up to students and get their input,” Osegard said.
Lang said she challenged ETK to find out what students want. She hopes to continue the pattern of having a Large Event every two years if the 2014 show is a success.
ETK is also planning more small, interactive events, like Silent Commons, for this year.
“We’re not trying to take anything away from students. It took a lot to make this decision,” Lang said. “It will be something great to come in the future.”