Yesterday evening, Program Board announced that Macklemore will headline Spring Concert on April 27. Macklemore, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, is a rapper and musician who has risen to stardom recently with his successful debut full-length studio album, “The Heist,” which reached the No. 1 position on the U.S. iTunes Albums chart within hours of its October 2012 release, selling over 78,000 copies in the first week and debuting in the No. 2 spot on the U.S. Billboard 200. Known for his No. 1 hit “Thrift Shop,” Macklemore has been independently releasing music since 2000 and now collaborates with producer Ryan Lewis.
He released an EP titled “Open Your Eyes” in 2000 under the name Professor Macklemore and released his first full-length album “The Language of My World” in 2005. In 2009, he released “The Unplanned Mixtape,” featuring his debut single “The Town.” In 2010 he teamed up with Ryan Lewis to create “VS. Redux,” which reached No. 7 on the iTunes hip-hop chart. His most well-known singles include “Thrift Shop” with Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz, “My Oh My,” “Wing$,” “Can’t Hold Us” with Ryan Lewis and featuring Ray Dalton and “Same Love” with Ryan Lewis and featuring Mary Lambert.
The opening act will by Sol Moravia-Rosenberg, known simply as Sol, who is a northwest hip-hop artist based in Seattle Washington whose second album “Yours Truly,” released January 2012, rose to No. 1 on iTunes U.S. Hip Hop Charts and charted on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart.
“The opening act, Sol, was chosen because he runs in similar circles with Macklemore,” said Danica Richards ’14, Co-Chair of Program Board. “We thought it would be a nice complement.”
Program Board was able to make the announcement after the long, arduous process of putting together Spring Concert was completed last week.
“I worked on Spring Concert last year and learned lessons from that. Last year with Ludacris there was a bit of a fiasco,” said Peter Crane ’15, Spring Concert chair and Association of Amherst Students (AAS) representative to Program Board. “So this year, going into it, we said, let’s do this super early.”
Program Board quickly began searching for artists in October, when they sent out a Spring Concert survey to students for input.
“In the survey we took, a lot of people wrote [Macklemore] in,” Richards said. “So we figured that he would be a good choice.”
With a limited budget of $40,000, Program Board decided to act early in order to get their bid accepted.
“We maxed out, because he was a rising artist,” Crane said. “We were on top of a lot of bids, obviously, because he is very competitive.”
In order to push their bid over the edge and secure the initial step towards booking the concert, Dean Hannah Fatemi, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Campus Center, and the Student Activities Office gave the group an extra $5,000. After locking in the bid, Program Board entered the contract stage.
“That’s been a lot longer process, because the contracts go back and forth dealing with riders, personal items, all these little things such as us insisting on a 60 day cancelation contract to make sure we didn’t get screwed over,” Crane said. “That finally got set in January or February.”
Program Board then began looking into finding an opening act. After looking into DJ’s, they ended up looking into hip-hop artists at Macklemore’s request. They choose Sol, who is a fellow Seattle artist who often collaborates with Macklemore.
“Sol plays with a full band so his full band is going to be coming whereas for Macklemore it’s just going to be him, Ryan Lewis and a trumpeter that he works with,” Crane said.
The opener was just settled this past week as the deadline for Macklemore to pull out of his contract also passed.
“In some ways, we’ve known since November, and in some ways we haven’t definitely known until now,” Crane said. “Now we are able to say it with confidence.”
Spring Concert will be held in LeFrak Gymnasium on April 27. Tickets will be given out in Valentine Dining Hall and by the Campus Center Manager. Tickets will be available to Amherst students for free starting Wednesday, March 27. Every student on campus can receive one free ticket during the early window period. After two weeks, tickets will be available for Five-College students and general admission. The tickets will be sold to Five-College students and General Admission for $15 and $30, respectively.
“If the student body is happy, so am I. I hope they are excited,” Richards said. “We hope that in years following, the process will be just as smooth.”
Additional Information: Tickets will be available to Amherst students for free starting the wednesday after break. Two weeks after that, tickets will be open to five-college and general admission, for $15 and $30 respectively.