Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Luda, come back


FAU’s contract with Ludacris was not even finalized when the rapper pushed back his Oct. 15 appearance to attend a photo shoot for a Fast and the Furious movie.

A local, professional promoter and a student promoter from the University of Florida both agree: Flyers should not have been made until the contract was done.

Nonetheless, in mid-September, FAU’s hallways, bulletin boards and Breezeway began getting hammered by flyers boasting the 2010 Freaker’s Ball, featuring Ludacris. The annual, student-produced concert would have kicked off Homecoming on Oct. 15. But on Sept. 28, FAU’s Student Government Program Board, which plans events for the Boca campus, got word that Ludacris couldn’t make it.

“It’s devastating and you’re like, ‘Oh, my God, what are we gonna do?’ and you sulk about it and then, an hour later, you figure it out, which is what we did,” said Alicia Keating, the adviser to Program Board. “If we’re devastated and we’re like, ‘Yeah, this really sucks, this is terrible,’ then how is anyone else gonna be excited?”

Students must have still been excited, though, since a week after the cancellation, ticket sales rose by nearly 100. As of press time, 599 tickets have been sold or handed out, bringing in around $5,530, according to Michele Perkins, director of Student Involvement and Leadership.

Craig Hammon, the marketing director for Revolution Live, a Fort Lauderdale concert venue, said this is common.

“I have shows cancel all the time,” he said. “It’s a bad deal, specifically from a university’s standpoint, where people are excited for the show.”

But Hammon also pointed out that promoting a show before the contract is final is a bad idea. “Even if there’s wind of a show coming my way, or if I see a show on my calendar that they say is confirmed, I won’t lift a finger until I see it confirmed when I receive the contract,” he said. “The contract is my starting point.”

UF student Adam Hewko is in charge of making sure all events run smoothly for UF’s Student Government Productions.

“It’s not too smart to start flyering or spending any money as a promoter before the contract is finalized,” Hewko said. “That way you don’t get burned.”

So FAU got burned, but not before a little more than $4,000 was brought in through ticket sales.

According to Alicia Keating, this is just how things get done at FAU.

“Traditionally, we’ll have posters printed before the contract’s done, for concerts,” she said.

Keating explained that Program Board had agreed with Ludacris on the concert date with a contract, but it was just a draft and still going through changes when Ludacris’ people called with the bad news.

“It’s not necessarily that we were disagreeing on things, it’s just coming to a mutual agreement with language,” Keating said, explaining that in some instances something as trivial as changing “FAU” to the “state of Florida” became an issue.

When FAU got burned, so did some students, like Samantha Mellman, a junior communication major, who had bought two $10 tickets in mid-September.

“I feel like — this might be harsh to say — it’s like being lied to. I thought it was going to be next weekend and then they’re like, ‘Oh, no, it’s going to be a month later,’ when I can’t go,” she said. “That pissed me off.”

Mellman’s friend Jackie Skevin, a junior political science major, fared better after the date changed.

“I personally was really happy because I wasn’t able to go the original date,” she said. “This could be one of the biggest events of the year.”

Mellman, like all students who bought tickets before the date-change, have three options, according to an announcement that went out from Program Board on Sept. 30:

Students can use their tickets to go to the rescheduled Nov. 10 concert, exchange them for new tickets with the new date, or students can get a full refund on their tickets.

Adam Hewko said UF would have taken similar action, observing that “those sound like pretty good options. You’re not burning the students who bought tickets.”

Craig Hammon pointed out that when a cancellation like this occurs, students aren’t the only ones who suffer.

“Everything that you spent, all the money put down, all the marketing, all the time advertising, that’s all basically gone,” he said. “You cannot recoup those expenses.”

But Program Board didn’t face that big of a loss, according to Alicia Keating, who said that only $150 was spent on promotions so far, as Ludacris had sent pre-designed flyers — all FAU had to do was insert the date. And Program Board didn’t mind footing this bill before the contract was finalized, as it’s quite small in relation to the $100,000 budget of the production.

According to Keating, with an estimate of $6,000 on the production and $10,000 on security, the flyers only take up a small fraction of the funds.

The biggest bill, however, was Ludacris’ pricetag. When Hammon heard that it was, according to the most recent version of the contract, $75,000, he laughed.

“You’re kidding me. I wouldn’t book him for anything near that. Probably the highest we’d ever go in for Luda — and I’m a fan of Luda — I’d probably go in at $40,000 to 45 at the very max,” he said. “You could have gotten Rick Ross, who’s a little bit of a hotter artist right now, with his new release, for $45,000.”

Hammon was referring to the rapper who recently released the single “Live Fast, Die Young,” which featured and was produced by Kanye West.

Adam Hewko, experienced in booking big artists (UF showcased Bob Dylan on the weekend of Oct. 9), explained that a high price is expected.

A tour manager judges the price of an artist based on whether the venue is for-profit, nonprofit or a university, according to Hewko.

“If you’re a school then they know it’s not your money,” he said. “They know it’s student money so they can up-charge you the 20 to 30 thousand dollars than what the artist is really worth.”

Hammon maintained that Ludacris’ compensation was a result of bad haggling: “Sounds as if they should have beat ‘em up over the rates a little more.”

Based on a recent but not final version of his contract, FAU estimated that student tickets would foot $36,000 of the bill.

Alicia Keating said that now the estimate has dropped considerably, to around $20,000, which leaves the remaining 50 large to be plucked out of activities and services fees, or A&S fees — the money that students pay into Student Government each semester.

Keating said that last year’s Freaker’s Ball, which featured Miami artist Pitbull, cost around $45,000, and is not surprised by Ludacris’ price.

“He’s getting paid more, he’s a bigger artist,” she said. “We were hoping he would bring in a bigger crowd. That was our goal in getting a bigger artist.”

And a bigger artist means looser rules, especially when it comes to contracts, according to Bobby Peterson, Program Board’s director.

“When you’re dealing with artists like Ludacris, he can say that he’ll be there but he can still cancel, even after the contract is finalized,” adding that if this happens, a venue will usually not do anything about it so as not to burn a bridge with the artist.

Craig Hammon said that the danger of artists’ cancellations grows with specific genres.”I hate to say it, but when it comes to hip hop, you have to be very careful. They find themselves being pulled in a lot of different directions and they generally do the bigger, better deal,” he said. “He had to make the decision and the decision was either money and let these people down or the movie.”

The entertainment business is a risky business, according to Hammon.

“Sometimes, you gotta pull the trigger and hopefully make people happy,” he said. “It’s better if he cancels and resets than have him perform and not be the happiest Ludacris he can be or bring some kind of bad vibe to the crowd.”


Artists have needs

Rapper requests booze and protection


Ludacris asked FAU for liquor and condoms.

Those are just a few of the items he requested in his hospitality rider, the part of his contract that lists the concessions an artist requests from a venue.

While Student Government’s Program Board, which is responsible for Ludacris’ concert, crossed out those items, refusing to provide them, they left the Snapple, the batteries, the T-shirts and the shea butter.

Alicia Keating, adviser to Program Board, said that some items were unnecessary, like the requested box of condoms.

“I cross out things that I don’t think we need to provide. We are constantly analyzed for purchasing things, we’re audited all the time,” she said. “I imagine a day when the UP is requesting a public record on things that we’re purchasing and we’re purchasing alcohol and condoms for Ludacris and my name is associated with that.”

Craig Hammon, the marketing director for Revolution Live, a Fort Lauderdale music venue, said that there’s nothing wrong with the request.

“You wanna be cool with him, condoms are fine. That means he’s gonna have a good time while he’s on property and that’s always good.”

Asked if he thinks Ludacris was planning on using the condoms on FAU property, Hammon said, “Ideally, I’m sure that’s his plan. Obviously, they better be of age,” adding, “You don’t know what he’s gonna do. He might be leaving your event and going to Miami for the night or the Hard Rock, for example.”

Keating said that, while she wouldn’t agree to purchase the condoms through Program Board, she would definitely send someone to the Today and Beyond Wellness Center to fetch some condoms for the rapper.

“We should applaud them for being safe,” she said. “We want to make sure our artists are as comfortable as possible.”

Hammon found the solution satisfactory.

“That’s a great way around it. He’s happy. You’re happy,” he said. “You might as well throw in some lube and some fun stuff, too — make him smile.”

These are some of the naughty items that Ludacris requested of FAU but was refused:

1 box of Trojan Magnum condoms

2 bottles of Grey Goose vodka

2 bottles of Conjure Cognac brandy

2 bottles of Patron Silver tequila

1 bottle of red wine (merlot or cabernet)

1 bottle of white wine (pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc)

[Source: recent but not final version of the contract between Ludacris and FAU]


Electric substitute

FAU replaces Ludacris


Students who are still interested in going out on Oct. 15 have another option:

What: Electric Hoot, a dubstep-style music festival

When: Friday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Who: DJ Lara, DJ Deep Therapy and two surprise DJs

Where: Live Oak Pavilion (in back of the Student Union)

How Much: free

The event will be put up by Program Board and Hoot/Wisdom Recordings, FAU’s student-run record label, which will be releasing its compOwlation on Nov. 5.

Artists on the album will include Bladesong, Danny B, Marcus Banks, SirVeza, Fireside Prophets, Bell Tower Falls, Equatorial Christmas, Juan Matamoros, GST, Alejandro Sanchez and James Cunningham.

To learn more about the event and the new album, contact Francesca Velasquez at (954) 639-1524 or by e-mail at [email protected].


He’ll be back

What to do if you bought a ticket already or want one


Students who already bought tickets to the original Oct. 15 Freaker’s Ball can either return them for a full refund or exchange them for new tickets.

To do so, students can contact the Student Involvement and Leadership Office at (561) 297.3735 or e-mail Program Board at [email protected].

Students who haven’t bought tickets yet:

What: Freaker’s Ball 2010, featuring Ludacris

When: Wednesday, Nov. 10, 8 p.m.

Where: Carole and Barry Kaye Auditorium in the Student Union on the Boca campus

How much: Through Nov. 5: $10 for students and $25 for general public and after Nov. 5: $25 for students and $35 for general public

To purchase, students must go to the Student Union Box Office and present a valid Owl Card. The general public can purchase online at www.fauevents.com or call (800) 564-9539.

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