CUP bids for Kanye, Peas come up dry

The sun-kissed days of spring may seem like a million years away, but Springfest 2006 is fast approaching, and the Council for University Programs (CUP) is struggling to find a headliner for this year’s Springfest concert.

CUP’s first-choice headliner, the Black Eyed Peas, will be performing in Texas on the date of Springfest. Upon learning this, CUP posted a survey on its Web site for about two weeks, listing many different artists and groups from various genres.

After the poll closed, Kanye West finished as the favorite by more than 50 percent. CUP put in a bid for West and waited several weeks until it was notified that he decided to accept a show in Asia on the date of the Springfest concert.

Springfest Chair Scott Hultman said the survey helped, even though CUP could not book the student body’s first choice.

“[The poll] really did help us to figure out what Northeastern students wanted to see,” Hultman said. “We waited weeks and weeks and were really hoping we could bring him [West] here but now we are just going down the list and seeing who is available in our price range.”

Hultman said the next act they tried was Ben Folds, who will be in St. Louis on the night of the concert. The sixth-ranked act on the list, O.A.R., also has a previous engagement in Pennsylvania, Hultman said.

“It’s really difficult, especially because we have only one day that Matthews [Arena] gives us at the beginning of the year,” Hultman said, adding that most other universities and colleges are allocated a range of dates for their spring concerts and can schedule at the convenience of performers.

“It’s really hard with Matthews because it is too hard to coordinate with athletics,” Hultman said.

Although CUP is charged with a difficult task, students said starting the planning earlier, opening the concert up beyond Northeastern and trying for more underground bands would improve the process.

“The survey they take should be done in the early fall or summer II semester,” said Rosena Cornet, a senior criminal justice major. “They need to allow time for bands to cancel and to still be on track.”

Sophomore pharmacy major Aneha Katyal said CUP should take advantage of Boston’s college population and not limit the concert to Northeastern.

“Not many people have heard of Northeastern. They should have Northeastern sponsor the concert, but have it open to the college town we live in. This would help to make more money, too,” she said.

Despite setbacks, Hultman said he and the rest of the CUP executive board and general council members are thinking positively and are focusing on the rest of Springfest week as well.

All events, performers and speakers chosen and contracted for the week of Springfest will be related to the theme, which Hultman said CUP is keeping confidential until planning is further along and contracts for performers are in place.

“The theme is still unannounced, but it is chosen and events are being planned accordingly,” Hultman said. “We have contracts out right now for speakers and performers, a wide range with great diversity.”

– Staff Writer Megan Jicha contributed to this report.

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