Listen to the Music: Who Chooses the Big Name Entertainment
Listen to the Music
The Student Activities and Welfare Committee were Tech’s earliest concert coordinators and promoters of big name entertainment. By 1966, they sponsored extracurricular activities and negotiated contracts for big name entertainment. This was done with students and the student organizations. For instance, Scabbard and Blade sponsored the Dick Clark Caravan in 1966 and Neil Diamond in 1968 and Alpha Kappa Psi, the professional fraternity, sponsored The Association in 1967. Unfortunately, the Student Activities and Welfare Committee found that the profits, which could be large or very small, imbalanced other activities and gave profits to individual clubs and organizations unfairly. The Associated Student Body (ASB) began to use a rotation system to make sure individual student organizations did not monopolize better dates for events and moved to reinvest profits from more successful events to other events. Sponsoring organizations spent over $30,000 in big name entertainment in 1967 alone. By 1968, the ASB suggested a Student Entertainment Organization. The business of entertainment was big and the ASB determined that it was a job and suggested a committee for the work.
Following this recommendation, the Student Affairs Committee formed the University Programming Committee in 1974 to handle big name entertainment and extracurricular activities. They estimated over $50,000 in costs for promotions, arrangements, and concerts. The Committee's job was also to navigate the rest of the University calendar making certain events were not double-booked. A larger change was also taking place in the music world. Billboard suggested in the 1970s that music agents would no longer work with students. The University began working with Sound Seventy for booking and promotion.
As of 2012, the Student Government Association’s Tech Activities Board selects the bands for the big name entertainment, now called S.O.L.O. (Student Organization Live Opportunity) concerts. Students vote on a genre and then a band. The SGA takes fifteen of the selected bands and with the contractor, Concert Ideas, offers these bands the opportunity to play starting with the first choice and moving down the list. Students receive free tickets. Tickets left from shows are then sold to the masses. The shows happen in the Spring and Fall. They are better attended than many past shows, whether because there are fewer or because they are decided on differently. This method allows for a more diverse selection of music.