How did world-famous act Kesha end up at Colby?

Kesha’s performance at the Fall Concert three weekends ago received mixed reviews, but beyond individual feelings on if the concert lived up to expectations, it still begs the seemingly glaring question: How in the world did Colby College book Kesha for Halloween weekend? The Student Planning Board (SPB) explained the process that made it all happen.

“We are allocated a budget which allows us to bring a diverse selection of artists and stage the type of concerts and festivals that students enjoy,” SPB board members said. “SPB conducts two campus-wide surveys at the end of the fall and spring semesters to determine what types of programming students are interested in. These results provide insight for the direction we take in the upcoming year. The 2015-2016 survey indicated students wanted a big pop artist and we made this a priority for the fall semester.”

Kesha definitely fit  that description, as one of the largest acts to ever visit Colby’s campus. But she was not the only artist considered. In fact, SPB went through an extensive booking process before finally deciding on who to hire.

SPB first asked students about the genre of music they wanted at the concert and compiled lists of potential artists over the summer. After making this list, they began reaching out to artists and making offers, with the help of an agent. “Our goal is to have an artist booked by the time school starts. Booking an artist depends on a myriad of factors that are both inside and outside our control.” SPB stated that they look for artists that fit “budgetary and practical criteria” and would also be interesting to Colby students. While they obviously cannot control the asking price of artists or their interest in playing at a small college, they still contact many artists in hope that they can play. Once they receive responses, they can begin to narrow it down. They then will submit offers and negotiate until they find the deal and artist they are looking for. Because of this long process, SPB starts looking for artists long before the concerts, and they stated that their hiring process for the spring festival at Colby has already begun.

With Kesha’s fame came a price, however, and SPB admitted that she did not come cheap. SPB members said one of the most expensive acts they have booked. But with this price came a silver lining. “[Kesha was] also one of the largest names to come to Colby.” SPB members also said that some of the costs associated with bringing Kesha to Colby were mitigated through ticket sales. “Kesha was the largest ticketed event in Colby’s history with over 2,900 tickets sold,” members said.

This concert was not only an effort of SPB, but also involved collaboration with clubs and students across campus.

“SPB is immensely proud of the work that the Concerts and Live Music Committee (CLM) has done in the past few years,” SPB members said. “In addition to staging the Kesha concert, the largest ticketed event in Colby’s history, we have been thrilled with the response to Roberts Road, which is only two years old but is quickly emerging as a valued tradition.” SPB values student collaboration, and knows it played an important role in the planning of the Kesha concert. 

As a student organization on campus, SPB members say they welcome feedback that would help them improve concert experiences in the future. “SPB encourages everyone to join CLM and to come to our meetings where we solicit suggestions and feedback from students,” board members stated.  SPB members said students should expect surveys they can fill out to help SPB understand what types of music and performers Colby students are interested in seeing. Any students who are interested in joining CLM or providing concert feedback should email SPB@colby.edu”.

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