By Alexa Solis
Droves of students made their way to the Reno Events Center on Saturday night to see the one and only Waka Flocka Flame. The rapper most recently made headlines for announcing his run for presidency on 4/20, only to be foiled by his age (Flocka is 29, the required age to run for president is 35). With the larger-than-life persona and antics that have made him popular among young people, it comes as no surprise that his performance at the Associated Students of the University of Nevada’s Welcome Week concert drew the largest crowd in the university’s history.
In fact, the concert was rated the fourth most anticipated Welcome Week event in the nation by pumpthebeat.com. The buzz that surrounded this semester’s concert was unprecedented, and the ticket sales (upwards of 5,000) demonstrated just that. This was music to the ASUN programmers’ ears. Tazia Statucki, director of programming, noted that the genre and artist choice was a great boon to the booming ticket sales.
Though G-Eazy, last year’s Welcome Week concert, sold out, it still paled in comparison to Waka Flocka’s performance. G-Eazy sold under 4,800 tickets according to Statucki. It was by far the most successful event held by ASUN programming in the last academic year, with attendance at concerts dwindling to a dismal 1,300 by the spring semester’s Timeflies concert.
Statucki and the new board of programmers have acknowledged the successes and failings of their predecessors, and have taken measures to better accommodate students and their desires, such as the use of a survey taken at the end of the spring semester. From that survey, programming now knows that students prefer rap and country over other genres.
While they are making strides toward progress, they have also been faced with challenges. With only two days to go until the concert, the venue was changed from the university’s Quad to the Reno Events Center. Statucki attributed the change to air quality and safety concerns.
“We always look at what’s happened in the past to make adjustments for the future,” Statucki said. “With this concert obviously, we had to change venues. So in the future if we try to have an event on the Quad, we know what kind of things may arise, and what kind of challenges that poses.”
That wasn’t the only hardship they’ve faced. Even though the Waka Flocka concert was the most successful concert they’ve had both in sales and cost-per-student analysis, members of programming were booed as they took the stage to introduce the Atlanta-based rapper.
While the reasons for the jeers remain unclear, the boos were unmissable and out of place. Programmer Casey Hurdle thought that the event was a success in every way, from the audience to the artists tweeting about the great crowd, noting that everyone in attendance seemed to enjoy the show.
“I think the students appreciate ASUN and the Department of Programming even if they aren’t fully aware of all that we do,” Hurdle said. “We put all of our time and energy into planning and executing these events so the students can enjoy their college experience even more. As long as they are enjoying the events, then we as a board are happy.”
Alexa Solis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @thealexasolis.