ASUN’s 2017 Spring Concert took place on Wednesday, March 29, at the Reno Ballroom. Despite being on a Wednesday night off campus, there was a substantial student turnout.
DJs Slushii, Vanic and Ryan Moe headlined. EDM was the main focus, compared to last year’s spring concert’s country music theme.
“EDM concerts are always a fun time with upbeat music and lets be honest, most people go to concerts to dance,” said ASUN Director of Programming Cassandra Hurdle. “I think that both the music and the culture is a huge hit with students our age right now. Plus it is such a diverse genre, there is something for everyone.”
There were roughly 2,400 students in attendance, which had a lot to do with the fact that the concert was free.
“We have a revenue line in ASUN…this year it was $150,000, so we have to make sure we make that much money,” said ASUN Assistant Director of Programming Bryan Leard. “Luckily with Biggest Little Festival we darn near made the whole thing…So when we got to the financial process we realized, wait a second, we don’t need to make students pay for this, it would be awesome if we could do a free concert.”
Planning for the ASUN Spring Concert began in December, but serious conversations with artists and booking agencies did not come about until mid to late January.
The original plan was to hold the event at the Reno Events Center, but ASUN found they could rent the Reno Ballroom for approximately $16,000 less.
Because of interfering events in the ASUN schedule, including spring break, Family Weekend and Unity Week, as well as conflicts on the part of the venue, the concert was put on a Wednesday.
“Ideally we would have liked to have it on a Friday or Saturday, but it didn’t work out,” Leard said.
The entire concert cost $70,000. Slushii was $20,000, Vanic was $12,500 and Ryan Moe was $700, among other expenses.
Reno native Ryan Moe started the show out strong. He got the crowd warmed up with upbeat and melodic styles. His crew danced around the stage and provided a lot of great energy. He gracefully weaved in and out of his own material and remixes of popular songs.
“It was amazing,” Moe said. “I’m so thankful and humbled to have been a part of it. The production was awesome and all of the acts threw down killer sets.”
More and more people filtered in as Vanic took the stage. Everyone jumped along to his more aggressive, dubstep-influenced EDM. The audience was becoming increasingly rowdy as the night progressed and he incorporated a lot of cool lights and visuals.
The pinnacle of intensity came with the main attraction: Slushii. Everyone went wild as the DJ contributed the most satisfying bass drops of the night. He even put on a couple of throwback jams to make sure the crowd was still with him (they were). He interacted with the spectators and seemed to have a lot of fun himself.
“I believe the show went very well,” Hurdle said. “From a behind the scenes point of view, there were very few incidents and the concert basically ran itself. I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from students who attended and from the artists who performed. I’d call it a success.”
It seemed to be thoroughly enjoyed by the students in attendance.
“I really liked how it was in the ballroom, I had a lot of space but not too much,” said UNR junior Jasmine Brown. “The DJs were great.” She was, however, left wanting more as she added, “I wish it ended a little later.”
The sound system, which has had troubles in the past at school-sponsored events, held up surprisingly well. The bass was chest-rattling and left me hard of hearing. The production, provided by Moon Lighting & Sound, was excellent. Foam tubes filled with lights were handed out for students to wave around during sets, which had a really cool effect.
For one night, UNR got to revel in the contained chaos of EDM, with eye glitter and American flag bandannas as far as the eye could see. Despite my being a jaded curmudgeon, I couldn’t help bobbing my head to the beat. Rave culture has crawled out of the seedy underbelly of society to be embraced by the mainstream, enchanting audiences with visceral appeal and a spectacle caught somewhere between MDMA euphoria and Cartoon Network.