Ben Folds is the Big Event

Ray Feller

This April, Ben Folds will bring his piano to the chapel stage as SOUP’s Big Event for 2002-2003.This year is very different from usual for SOUP. Instead of having many smaller events spread throughout the year, LUCC allocated a special sum of money to be used for one well-known performer to come to Lawrence.

To facilitate all of the planning that would be necessary, SOUP formed a special committee called the Big Event committee. Chairing the committee is Andrea Hendrickson.

Finding a performer was a long process, and was based from start to finish on student input. “It has been lots of fun and a lot of work in a little amount of time,” explains Hendrickson.

The Big Event committee began meeting in the fall, and positions were opened to any interested students on campus. The committee sent several surveys to students to narrow down the best choice for performer.

Surveys started by asking what type of performer students wanted. From that point, they got more and more specific.

While students were helping the Big Event committee narrow things down, the committee was working to find good performers within the price range who would be able to tour and were willing to do university dates. The Big Event committee put out a survey with around a dozen bands on it and asked students to rate their top three choices.

In this survey, Ben Folds received over double the votes of any other group. When the Big Event committee saw how strongly the student body felt, they pushed to get Ben Folds as the Big Event.

“It is really exciting because he was so obviously the top choice, says Hendrickson. “We hope he is going to draw the most people.”

Campus Activities helped with phone calls, doing the negotiations with agents.

Folds, formerly of the band Ben Folds Five, recently released the album Ben Folds Live, featuring his live performances from the 2002 tour. Folds is known for his ability to interact with an audience. During his solo touring, he used his audiences to provide back up vocals and instrumentation.

The concert will be April 8 in the chapel. Students with a Lawrence ID can get tickets for $8; everyone else will get them for $15. Only one ticket can be purchased at the discounted price per ID. Tickets cannot be purchased over the phone, and students will be able to choose their own seats. The box office will be selling to LU students beginning the first week in March, with sales open to the public two weeks later. “This money is coming from the activities fee, so it is for Lawrence students first. We really want the students to get the best seats,” says Hendrickson.

In future years, Hendrickson is hopeful that SOUP will be allocated more money in order to open up more possibilities for performers. She also hopes to have planning for next year’s Big Event begin third term.

Hendrickson is excited about the performance. “I think it is going to be great,” she said. “The performance is second week, so we are aiming for low stress and high turnout.”