Preparing for the Spring Concert

By Kaitlyn Aiello, News and Layout/Design Editor

April 10, 2013

When it comes to the spring concert, students are typically concerned about two things: who the artist is and the date of the event. But for Hillary Kokajko, director of interactive media in the HPU office of communications, her job doesn’t end there. From the amount of security and police officers to catering, the logistics of the event are essential to a smooth running concert.

After a 45-page document is sent, negotiation begins because every group has a writer and a technical writer. “They ask for the super bowl,” Kokajko says. “They ask for the biggest stage they can get. I explain to them that this is a closed show and a little bit different than any other school that they work with.” After the offer is sent and approved, the details start to be made.

The biggest decision is whether to hold the event inside or outdoors. Dealing with an outside event is complicated when road closings are involved and outside toilets are needed. But for Calvin Harris, an inside setting was declared the best option. With an intense LED wall and a three-minute long CO2 confetti cannon, the Millis Gym worked most appropriately.

After months of preparation, the day of the event normally runs smoothly. “It gets easier after you do it for six years in a row, twice a semester,” Kokajko says. Depending on what time the band and other employees arrive on a campus, a catering service will provide the meals and security will be in place. “This is what we did last year. We’ll do the same thing for ticketing,” says Kokajko. Unlike most events, Calvin Harris is not doing a meet and greet, which is one different factor. “Unfortunately, with some bigger name acts, they don’t want to do that sort of thing,” she says. “I will try until the day of the event.”

Being familiar with the day’s events, Kokajko has campus enhancement’s orders placed as far as tables and chairs and meals are concerned. “It depends what time they get there, if they get there in the morning it’s a lot of pressure to make sure everything is ready the night before,” Kokajko says. The recently renovated men’s and women’s locker rooms will be used conveniently as dressing rooms for the crew. Each band requests different items inside the dressing room.

“First thing I do in the morning is go to the University Center and make sure all of the wristbands and card swipes are set up, making sure they have meal tickets,” says Kokajko. She then gives employees the information and walks them through the process and what was already sent out to students. Next, she makes sure that everything is set in the dressing rooms and in the parking lot.

“There is a lot of variables throughout the day depending if they are bringing a lot of their front or back line,” Kokajko says. For instance, HPU will normally supply the piano, so they do not have to bring their own. There won’t be much of a load-in process for them. However, some bands want to do things around the area, like play basketball or golf. “The Fray wanted to go have wings. They wanted wings from three different places,” Kokajko says. Two runners and a staff member are ready to help with whatever requests they might have. “Sometimes they want to go swimming and sometimes they want to work out,” Kokajko adds.

Once the event begins, places are taken. The Office of Student Life helps with the ticketing process, and all the police and security officers gather for a meeting to discuss everything. Then in the middle of the day, there will be a sound check. “They’ll have a sound check and then the opener will have a sound check,” Kokajko says. The opener will ultimately provide the music playing during set-up, to make sure students know what to expect from them.

As for Kokajko, once the event begins, she must ensure that the sound is good and that everyone is happy. “Usually there are some issues at the front gate or something like that, or there’s an issue at ticketing. So we try to make sure that everyone is happy at the event in general,” she says. “This is the biggest production we’ve had. It is exciting and I hope that everyone has a good time.”

Keep your eye out for the latest Campus Concierge emails regarding bracelets, times, and all information involving the spring concert.

The concert will take place on Saturday, April 13 in the Millis Athletic Center. Come out and enjoy a HPU tradition that has always helps celebrate the end of another successful semester.