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Grinnell Concerts announces fall lineup

Grinnell Concerts has released its fall lineup, which includes acts ranging in genre from indie rock to jazz. The S&B sat down with Concerts co-chair Phinn Lloyd ’21 to discuss what went into this semester’s lineup and the challenges that come with the booking process.

Lloyd said that the lineup takes months to put together. This year, he worked on assembling the semester’s lineup from mid-April to mid-August.

Over the course of these months, Lloyd dealt with everything, from negotiating contracts and counteroffers, to searching for new acts in the event that something fell through.The budget given to concerts by SGA this year was $40,000 per semester.

Lloyd and his co-chair, Victoria Park ’21, were then given the discretion to align that money with however many acts they wanted.

Lloyd and Park aim to strike a balance between quantity of shows and getting “bigger” acts. Lloyd also said that because he and Park are going abroad in different semesters (Park is currently studying in France), they agreed to let each semester reflect the taste and goals of the chair who is actively on campus.

“Within that $40,000, not only am I budgeting for booking fees, I’m also thinking about how much their hotel room’s gonna cost, their food, and also their plane tickets, if we’re paying for that as well,” Lloyd said.

“I’m really pleased with what I was able to do with it.”

Lloyd also said that Grinnell Concerts has developed a good enough reputation within the music industry that managers will often reach out to Concerts directly when touring the Midwest. When traveling from Chicago to Omaha or Kansas City, for example, it becomes attractive for artists to stop in Grinnell to make some extra money.

Lloyd did face his share of challenges, however, especially in the negotiation process.

“I was in negotiation with one artist for two-and-a-half months and it didn’t work out,” he said.

While Lloyd and Park have full discretion over the negotiation process, they receive administrative support when it comes to getting contracts finalized. Michael Sims, Assistant Dean for Student Involvement, reviews contracts after Lloyd and Park get through negotiations.Still, Lloyd does not feel like he faced much administrative red tape.

“We get a lot of freedom in this, which I think is really nice compared to how other institutions run it. Grinnell Concerts is very much a student-run organization,” Lloyd said.

As for what Lloyd wanted to see in the lineup this semester, he felt he had to balance his personal taste with factors such as what he thought students would enjoy and whether negotiations worked out. He said that Concerts pays close attention to how well-attended various shows have been in the past, which helps him guess who might attract a large crowd.

Lloyd ultimately feels happy with what he put together.

“I tried to get a decent range of artists in there,” Lloyd said. “We have some jazz coming later, we have indie rock, pop rock, R&B, hip-hop. We tried to get artists that even if you haven’t heard of them before, you’d enjoy them if they came. But if every artist I offered money to accepted to come, it would look different this semester, but you can’t control everything.”

Traditionally, Concerts has also used student bands as opening acts for some of the shows throughout the semester.

This year, Concerts has two student bands performing, as well as Deniz Sahin ’20, who will perform a DJ set before the DJ act Oshun.

Before wrapping up, Lloyd was quick to add that during his summer internship he printed large Grinnell Concerts posters that will be on sale at shows this semester.

All the proceeds from poster sales will go toward the Florence Project, a nonprofit in Arizona that gives free legal services to people under threat of deportation.

Grinnell Concerts co-chairs Phinn Lloyd ’21 and Victoria Park ’21, who receive $40,000 from Student Government Association, have been working to book artists to play at the Gardner Lounge this year. Contributed photo.
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