SAB’s ‘Vibe’ looks to future

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Lining the Billiken Club and Grill on Monday, April 24, students filled the on-campus restaurant for not only the free cheesy nachos, but also for the karaoke and a cappella showcase organized by the Student Activities Board. Kicking off Vibe, a four-day week of events brought to the staff and students by the organization, the Bill Grill hosted performances by Bare Naked Statues, Beyond All Reason and League of Laughter. From Monday’s opening night and Tuesday’s dance performances at the Simon Recreation Center, to literature, comedy and stand-up on Wednesday, the three days of entertainment builds up to the concluding Vibe concert on Thursday: that which will feature musical artists Daya and COIN at the Chaifetz parking lot at 7:30 p.m.

Though spanning over a four-day period instead of one, SAB President Matt Meyers expressed his “ideal Vibe” portraying that of a Lollapalooza-esque atmosphere. “Last year, we were discussing how we wanted to do something different; something that we could get other groups involved,” he explained. “There are so many talented groups, and SLU’s population is so multi-faceted—it’s good to celebrate this diversity, so we pulled together as many students and contacts as possible to organize an event made for students by students.”

2016 marked the first year of Vibe, which initiated more of a trial-by-error stage with formulating the events. “Last year, we pretty much planned three events in about a month’s time, which was really difficult,” Meyers said. “It was also raining during some of our events, and we couldn’t promote them until the day before.”

Amidst the issues during last year’s opening of Vibe, Meyers mentioned how he and SAB started reaching out to organizations and artists as early as this past November. With a board of 40 to 50 students, SAB initiated who each member was personally connected to as far as performance groups were concerned; by working through the grapevine, SAB was able to meet with presidents of the various organizations to pull together the event.

Last year, the main front artist was Hoodie Allen, and he proposed Wale as his own opening act. As part of this year’s Vibe featured artists, Daya and COIN were both available and fit the SAB budget. “We tried to keep open relations with SGA to tell them what we were doing. By keeping open relations with them and gaining their trust, we were able to set more of the ground work this year and have a budget to better fit our needs than in years past,” VP of Finance Pooja Nair said. “We are finally starting to have a name on campus.”

Even though promoting the events and organizing larger artists to perform has improved, booking has not always been as smooth sailing as initially intended. “Unfortunately, artists originally secured back out more than expected,” VP of Events Michael Artigues explained. “A lot of it gets stopped during the approval process, but some artists have signed the contracts and backed out after committing, even though this doesn’t happen quite as often. The contract process is tough in and of itself because we have our own contracts that SLU Administration must approve of since we have our own wording and paperwork, but the artist also has to have his/her own contract of approval which needs to line up with what we propose. There can be exchanges between us and the artists without them signing the contracts.”

Although some entertainers cancel before coming to perform at SLU, Artigues mentioned that the connections with certain agents is crucial in solidifying artists. “We have a few different people who we usually go to, to talk about potential artists—it’s not just for music artists, but also speakers and comedians.”

With one performance left for Vibe this year and two years of the event under SAB’s belt, the group hopes to continue raising the entertainment bar, as AVP of Operations Wes Speer will be the new president for the 2017-2018 term. “Right now, the biggest thing that we are planning is Fall Welcome, and next year is the Bicentennial,” he said. “Homecoming will be a very big deal.”