St. Thomas Student Struggles To Start Campus Music Fest

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UST dome feb2.jpg
Onliad via Flickr
Clinton Kuykendall, a senior at the University of St. Thomas, tried to have an on-campus music festival last spring and ran into a bevy of problems with the university.

Concert in the Mall, which was scheduled for March 2010 on UST's Campus Life Mall, a courtyard in the middle of campus, was going to be a charity benefit concert with all the proceeds going to the Houston Food Bank.

One canned or non-perishable food item would get students access to the concert; if they didn't have either, Kuykendall and his fellow organizers arranged for the on-campus convenience store to stock up on canned foods. If the store ran out, students could get into the show for a dollar.

But the concert never happened.

The lineup was strong, including Fat Tony, VerseCity and three other bands from UST.

"We didn't want to deter anyone from coming," Kuykendall says. "So we wanted to have the most diverse lineup possible with five bands."

Originally, the concert was going to be two stages on opposite ends of this field.

Clinton K on campus.JPG
Matthew Keever
Clinton Kuykendall on the UST campus
"It was going to be about four hours, and the stages would alternate," says Kuykendall, explaining that one band would play on Stage A while another set up on Stage B. "It was supposed to be four hours of nonstop music."

Kuykendall realized this would be difficult, and eventually the bands' set times were scaled back from one hour to about 30 minutes apiece, and the festival was scaled back to only one stage.

"The university, having never dealt with [anything like] this, was a little wary when we started moving forward," he says. "It was a big unknown to them; they didn't know how to approach it."

Kuykendall admits that he should have contacted UST officials earlier, but he didn't just approach administrators the week of the event with a random number. He researched the costs, prepared a budget and included precautions.

"They knew in August 2009 that we wanted to do this type of event," Kuykendall says. "We got a budget, and our biggest expense was a sound system. It was going to run us about $3,200, and that's because I wanted to make sure we had quality sound and adequate sound for the amount of people (there).

He budgeted in another $1,000 in supplies and added another $1,000 just to be safe.

"Residence Life, which would be the main sponsor of the event, could only put up about $200, which is our normal budget for any event that we do," says Kuykendall. "From there, we went to the Campus Programming Committee with our itemized budget and explained that we needed $5,000... and they came back and only gave us $1,000.

At this point, Kuykendall had $1,200, and he and the rest of the concert's organizers were worried it would all fall through. But the Montrose school's small size played out to their advantage.


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University of St. Thomas

3800 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: General

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5 comments
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Kyle W
Kyle W

We used to run a film, art, and music festival during the same week as the symposium, and got several bands to play on campus during this time - including the (kinda Rock's Off related) Black Math Experiment, who announced their song "Evil Wizard Jesus" just as university president Ivany was leading a group of donors through the area. That... got us in some trouble.

The Guinan dormitory used to have concerts at least 4 times a year as well. I honestly think you should blame the university. The tolerance for cool and creative events steadily declined over my time there (I graduated in '07), and I understand that they've continued down that path in the years since. They will always create more red tape when they don't want something to happen. The sad fact is too often Bob Ivany runs UST like a business, not a liberal arts school, and they've got a narrow vision of what their university should be.

Gary Packwood
Gary Packwood

I agree with Marcus and suggest also you ramp-up your fundraising efforts to include direct donations. Might even pass-the-hat at the concert and several other events.

And I would work with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston | Houston and allow them to tell you were the money needs to go.

http://www.catholiccharities.o...

Marcus Gausepohl
Marcus Gausepohl

Great effort and good luck this time around. A few ideas-

You can have a sound system for a lot less, just shop around. Have two rotating stages, one with a large PA and one with a small Pa, depending on the band size. Do 40 minute set times that way setting up and playing are spacious enough.

You should dream a little bigger, four dollars at least. I always learned that 5 dollars was practically a free concert, I usually did 10 to cover cost.

As far as alcohol goes you can ask your local distributor for whatever beer company to help you out. You can always ask one of the managers at specs if you are in the safe zone, or call TABC.

You could always do the fund raiser at a local venue to help get through some red tape. There are several within walking distance or St. Thomas. That takes care of alcohol and PA.

Just a thought,

Marcus Gausepohl

Clinton
Clinton

So we got to concert approved for this year, and I see here you talk about cheaper PA systems. What companies do you have in mind?

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