Emerging talent AlunaGeorge draws crowds at Fall Concert

This past Saturday, October 24, the Student Programming Board (SPB) invited English electronic music duo AlunaGeorge to come to campus as the headlining performer for the annual Fall Concert. Held in Page Commons, the concert saw a number of Colby students and members of the public alike, adjust their normal Saturday night plans to attend the show. While there, audience members heard performances from DJ Fall Line (Sam LeFeber ’17) beginning at 9 p.m. and duo KANEHOLLER at 10 p.m, before the night’s main act came on stage at 11 p.m.

unnamed-3For those unfamiliar with AlunaGeorge, they are a quickly up-and-coming duo consisting of singer/songwriter Aluna Francis and producer/instrumentalist George Reid. Having come a long way since their inception in 2009, they released their debut album “Body Music” in 2013, for which they received a nomination for the BRIT Critic’s Choice Award that same year. Since then, they’ve been featured on a number of other albums, perhaps most notably as a featured artist on the song “To U” from the Skrillex and Diplo 2015 collaboration “Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack U.”

For an act with such growing popularity, AlunaGeorge was an exciting name to headline for the Fall Concert. Of the process, SPB Treasurer Hutch Hurwitz ’16 said, “We work with a booking agent who tells us who would be good to have given our projected budget for the fall, and then they comprise a list.” He continued, “I honestly didn’t recognize many of the names [on the list] except for AlunaGeorge. Initially there was some complication that AlunaGeorge couldn’t come, and then we found out a week later that she was going to be available, so we immediately made an offer.”

Luckily for Colby, that offer was accepted, and Aluna Francis was able to make it to Waterville to represent the duo. Hurwitz explained that there was more to the decision to book AlunaGeorge than simply the group’s current popularity. He said, “Usually performers are male, so it’s good to get a female performer.” Furthermore, SPB has been looking to expand the diversity in the genres of music selected for campus wide concerts. Hurwitz said, “We’ve been steering away from booking just hip-hop performers, and AlunaGeorge is a singer and a DJ so it was a good combination.”

Of the concert itself, Shauna Yuan ’16 who made it to Page Commons to see the performance said, “Although the Fall Concert turnout is usually a little smaller than that of the spring ones, I felt like there were a lot of people who came to AlunaGeorge. It was a good crowd.”    

Hurwitz expressed a similar sentiment, saying, “It’s typically somewhat smaller than the Spring Concert just because we usually spend more of our budget on the Spring Concert. But then again, we’ve also gotten lucky with Macklemore, for example, but he happened to not be that expensive at the time.”

It perhaps comes as no surprise that much of who SPB is able to book depends on the amount of the budget they are able to allocate to each event. Within SPB, Hurwitz explained that it is the Concerts and Live Music Committee that is in charge of deciding the Fall and Spring Concerts. With the largest budget in SPB, the committee has some flexibility with whom they choose. Generally, however, 30% of the budget is spent on the fall performer, another 30% on Coffee House performances, and the final 40% allocated to the Spring Concert.

Though SPB was successful in booking a big name for the Fall Concert, there were still some attendance concerns on the night of the concert. Hurwitz said, “We were worried that not many people were showing up at the beginning of the concert. KANEHOLLER was the opener, and they didn’t have too much of a crowd, but then when AlunaGeorge came on a lot more people came.”

Yuan said that when she was there “the place felt really packed and had a good energy.” Hurwitz on the other hand said that “it wasn’t quite as packed as Grouplove, in terms of a Page concert, but overall it was a great turnout and she was really good.”

As for Francis’s flexibility, Hurwitz said that all went relatively smoothly. The payoff for SPB members perhaps came during a private meet and greet before the concert where members were able to talk to the performer and introduce themselves.

In terms of what students can expect for the Spring Concert, Hurwitz wouldn’t say much as to SPB’s specific plans for what performers they are looking into. That being said, if the success of AlunaGeorge was any indication of what can be expected, the next concert is sure to be another great event.