In Flux, Winterfest finds new name, Market

    The A.S. Council’s programming department is shaking up its
    winter itinerary, scrapping the longstanding WinterFest in favor of an event
    smaller in funding, size and name.

    Assistant Vice President of Programming
    Kevin Highland

    said today’s Winter All-Campus Dance is not billed as a concert — an attempt by
    the office to distance itself from the consistently unsuccessful WinterFest. Of
    the department’s seasonal concerts, WinterFest, held annually at RIMAC Arena,
    regularly records the lowest attendance levels.

    Highland added
    that shrinking the event’s size would free up department funds to accommodate
    other events, including the increasingly popular Bear
    Gardens
    .

    “Because of continuously being unsuccessful, WinterFest was
    the obvious place where we could pull money from to fund Bear
    Gardens
    ,” Highland
    said. “Over half of the [WinterFest] budget was cut and transferred to Bear
    Gardens
    .”

    Last year’s WinterFest was the first to be hosted in Price
    Center Ballroom, a precursor that programming aimed to downsize the event. That
    concert attracted 1,200 attendees, down almost 50 percent from the previous
    WinterFest, which was held at RIMAC Arena.

    “We could no longer afford the acts that fill up RIMAC,” Highland
    said. “So it was a logical move to the ballroom.”

    WinterFest 2007 did not manage to fill PC Ballroom to
    capacity, a letdown that Highland
    said he hoped to resolve with this year’s All-Campus Dance. The department is
    banking on the success of the Fall All-Campus Dance, a heavily attended event
    held at the beginning of every school year.

    “From an event-planning perspective, it makes no sense to
    have just one All-Campus Dance each year because of the fact that it is so
    successful,” he said. “The fall dance gets bigger and better every year, and I
    want to tap that success to produce more events that students will attend in
    large numbers.”

    While the fall event featured DJs specializing in pop and
    Top-40 music, the winter variant of the All-Campus Dance will add a band lineup
    and “cutting-edge and artistically challenging” DJs, Highland
    said. The programming department will establish the nature of future winter
    events based on how well this dance fares.

    “If [the Winter All-Campus Dance] is a big success, I do not
    see a reason why it wouldn’t be continued next year,” he said.

    This year’s event lineup fought a shakeup of its own, with
    the originally slated Los Angeles
    act Ima Robot dropping out earlier this week. The programming office’s Festival
    Coordinator Garrett Berg swapped the indie rock band, which backed out due to
    illness, for another: the Rx Bandits.

    “Surely the fastest book this office has seen,” Highland
    said.

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