So tell me about your title as ASUA special events director.
I'm essentially the concert promoter and booking agent for the University of Arizona, so I'm working with a bunch of different administrators and clubs, and there is a concert director as well. We all work together, and we bring big-name talent, or at least we try to.
How did you acquire a job like that?
I kind of got dragged into it, in a way. My roommate's sister was the concert director my freshman year, and she took me under her wing, and I became concert director sophomore year for the University Activities Board. ... This year, I became special events director, so it was like a progression.
So you were responsible for bringing Talib Kweli here recently?
Yes. Concerts on campus were pretty much absent until about two years ago, and working with different people, I have been involved with every concert since.
Walk me through the process of booking a band to play at the UA.
Overall, my role within ASUA is to provide students with large-scale entertainment. I contact agents and book bands. Then, the day of the show, I work alongside the tour manager to run the concert. Essentially, I am involved in everything. When looking for a concert, we try to keep tabs on what's popular among college students, because they're our main target market. That's when being a college student helps, because you hear every day what people are into, or who they'd like to see in concert. Once we have an artist in mind, it works one of two ways: Either I contact the representing agent, or the agent contacts me. The second way is much easier and pretty much guarantees a show, as the artist is routing a tour through Tucson. Once the agent is aware of the UA's interest, I put out a bid. As soon as the bid is accepted, we begin contract negotiations. While the contract is being worked on, which takes about a month, I am arranging every other aspect of the concert, like venue contracting, parking, hospitality, sound, lights, runners, security, marketing, ticketing, crews, catering, etc. ... The day of the show, I am at the venue from 6 or 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. the following morning. At this point, I just oversee the actual show and work with the production manager to make the day go smoothly. ...
What bands have you brought to the university?
The Fray, Death Cab for Cutie, Franz Ferdinand, Sugarland, Gym Class Heroes, Talib Kweli and The Format. I think I'm missing some, but that's the majority of it.
I bet meeting these people is a great perk to the job.
I don't get starstruck, so it's really not that big of a deal. But then when they're not super-friendly, it kind of ruins it for you, because you're like, "I really like their music, but you know, they weren't very nice to me, so I don't know how I feel about that."
What do you want to do with your life after you graduate?
Pretty much the same thing. (I'd rather) book out of a venue than a university, because I'm tired booking out of universities, because it's a lot of hassle and a lot of bureaucracy.
You're a business major. How would you incorporate that with what you're doing now?
I was kind of ignorant going into college about what my major should be. ... I thought that maybe I'd go into business, because it would help me with venue management, because I wanted to own my own concert venue. The more I thought about it, the more I thought I'd rather book and not have to be in charge of all the financials and whatnot.
What would be your dream artist that you could bring to the UA?
Well, we've been wanting to bring Radiohead. And now that Arizona is (more of) a blue state, we were thinking maybe that would be possible. I don't know. I think otherwise, it would be someone's who is dead, like Jimi Hendrix.
Anything you'd like to add?
Fortunately, concerts on campus are becoming more of an expectation, rather than a bonus, so the UA might actually become a place artists want to play. We do have 37,000 students at their disposal ... and some nice palm trees.