University Productions has announced rapper Big Sean as the headliner for its QUEST 2015 concert that will be held April 24 at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks.
“Big Sean was at the top of our list from the very beginning,” said University Productions’ president Jonathan Densa, ’16, in an email. “He was available at the right price on the right date and everything fell into place.”
The 26-year-old artist from Detroit has over 6 million Twitter followers and recently released his third studio album, Dark Sky Paradise, on Feb. 24. Sean has collaborated with artists such as Kanye West, Jay Z, Ariana Grande, Drake, John Legend and Lil Wayne.
The QUEST concert is an updated version of Lehigh’s previous spring concert, Sundaze, and saw a successful first year in 2014 with headliners Brillz and Flosstradamus. Over 1,000 students attended last year’s concert.
“A lot will be same from last year, except for what students see on stage and a few more changes,” Densa said.
In order to select a performer, University Productions narrows down a long list of artists to a select few to submit to an agent. After finding out about availability and price, a final decision is made and the offer is sent out. Even then, the offer can be accepted or rejected and sometimes a higher price may need to be offered.
Densa attributed the success of this process and University Productions’ operations to advisers Matt Kitchie and Andrea Barker.
In the past, Lehigh’s spring concert headliners have included The Roots, Ben Folds, Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, Slightly Stupid, Sugar Ray and Sol, and Flosstradamus and Brillz.
Sam Gordon, ’15, University Productions’ music executive, coordinates booking the artist, venue, concert production and meets with university and law enforcement officials in order to execute the best show possible.
QUEST, according to Gordon, is an opportunity for a change in scenery from the usual nightly activities for students. They can spend time with their friends and get to listen to a great artist, he said.
Minni Kim, ’16, University Productions’ large event director, said Big Sean was originally out of University Productions’ budget, but they were able to work with the agent to find a date that worked. In order to accommodate this cost, University Productions decided to charge for tickets, otherwise an artist as large as Big Sean might not have been possible. Lehigh students will be required to pay $20 for a ticket to the performance.
“We hope that students will recognize that it is not the school that is organizing this event, but a student organization that has worked tirelessly since last summer to make sure we put on a show that everyone will remember as a part of their Lehigh experience,” Kim said.