As announced in Sayles and broadcast over KRLX last Friday, Doechii will be this year’s Sproncert headliner. This announcement comes as the last after the openers — Bad Timing, Paranoid Fiction, Silver Warehouse, Dred I Dread and The Color 8 — were revealed over the past few weeks.
Prior to the announcement of the Sproncert artists, months of planning, preparation and negotiating were required by the Sproncert Committee. This year, the Sproncert committee was working with a budget of $180k, half of which is spent on fixed costs, including fencing, staging, tech crews, medics, security, etc.
The process began towards the end of last term when Bryan Le ’23, Music & Dance Programming Assistant of SAPB and Sproncert Chair, sent out a feedback survey aimed to get a “general idea of what everyone was looking forward to, along with things we could improve upon from last year.” It also helped the committee better understand the types of artists and music genres students were hoping to see.
The feedback gave the committee a solid foundation from which to work when planning the event this year. The planning process last year had been uncharacteristically chaotic, as it was the first Sproncert since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.
Of the feedback received, Le noted that “most responses expressed enthusiasm for this year, but we also received a lot of feedback regarding food prices, food truck wait time and headliner choice. The overall impression was that the student body would rather have us allocate more funds toward subsidizing food trucks (so that prices wouldn’t be so high) and toward a relatively well-known headliner (spend less on openers.)” Despite working with a smaller budget than last year and the accompanying challenges, Le is pleased with what the committee was able to accomplish.
After compiling and reviewing the feedback, the next step was for “committee members [to] submit artists, and after having a list of artists compiled, committee members [ranked] each artist based on how well they reflect our criteria,” said Ming Shen ‘23, Student Activities Programming Board co-chair and former chair of Sproncert. In response to student requests to allocate more funds towards a relatively well-known headliner, the committee looked for local and more affordable openers — most of them ended up being from the Twin Cities area. Additionally, Le noted that “We also consider how their genre and vibe might be affected by the time of day – super hype or upbeat music might fit better in the evening than early afternoon. We also consider how the vibes of each artist would transition into the next.”
Aside from notoriety, there were other factors taken into account for the headliner, which Shen elaborated on: “We do our best to stay within the most popular genres across the student responses from our survey while being conscious of feedback regarding previous headliners. We also consider the liveliness of the artists during live performances, among other criteria.”
Once the committee members develop their lists, the process of reaching out to the artists begins. Le described this next step as “a bit more tedious as it involves legal/logistical negotiations between the SAO staff and the artists. There’s often some back and forth before we can officially get contracts signed.”
This year, the Sproncert committee didn’t have to move too far down their list to secure Doechii as the headliner. Shen said, “Doechii was quite high up on our list, so we were really pleased about booking her.” Similarly, Le noted that “we were surprised to have secured a headliner so early on. I think we still had roughly two months until Sproncert at the time, which was a drastic difference from last year.” Of the few artists that the committee contacted prior to Doechii, it simply came down to them not being available on May 20 or their booking fee being too high.
Securing a headliner this early meant that the committee had to wait to release the headliner. Accordingly, rumors swirled around campus about who would stand center stage at the end of the night. Allie Fridkin ’23 fell victim to these whispers: “I was really expecting Sean Kingston, so at first it was a bit of a letdown. But I do know some of Doechii’s music, so I think it could be a vibe.” Ella Hein ’23 and Simran Kadam ’23, on the other hand, were purely delighted to hear of the headliner, squealing, “We love her and can’t wait for Sproncert!”
Both Le and Shen thoroughly enjoyed their time helping the Sproncert Committee choose the artists and plan the event. Reflecting on his time on the committee and looking forward, Le commented, “I think my favorite part of the planning process was just trying to build hype around the event and hearing back from people about their excitement. We didn’t really spend much time on marketing last year because we were scrambling to the very end (our main point of marketing last year was the lineup reveal). I think we did a better job this year with trying to engage the student body (e.g. feedback survey, logo submissions, logo voting, DJ signups, on top of the lineup reveal). I guess I’m most excited for the day of the event, just to see everything we planned come together.”
Shen had similar things to say about her experience. “My favorite part has always been choosing the artists, unsurprisingly. It’s a fun process overall, and it gives me another reason to find artists whose music I’ve never listened to before. I’m mostly excited that students are happy about Doechii! The headliner was a secret that we were so excited about, and now that the secret is out, we are thrilled about the input we’ve received so far.”
Be First to Comment