bringing bands to campus no easy task

By James Wallace

How difficult is it to bring a band to UNC? Ask Kindal Konechne, the president of the University Program Council.

Konechne, who’s been working at the UPC for three years, leads a team of students who sometimes work 40 hours a week to bring in top entertainment for students at the University of Northern Colorado.

The senior accounting major helps allocate the budget and make sure it’s being spent properly.

“I wanted to get involved on campus,” Konechne said. “I was very involved with the student council and student government at my high school, so this was kind of the equivalent, but college version, kind of big, real, so that’s why I came,” she said of her decision to join UPC.

UPC coordinator works hard, too

Davey Nawrocki has worked tirelessly to bring Boys Like Girls to cammpus.
David Nawrocki, the arts and entertainment coordinator for the University Program Council, works on his computer in the UPC office. Photo by James Wallace.

Right now, the UPC is putting together an April 11 concert featuring the band Boys Like Girls. David Nawrocki, the arts and entertainment coordinator for the UPC, came up with the idea of bringing the band to the university.

“In years past, I think UNC has taken an approach of having several smaller indie-rock/alternative-rock bands here that have a pretty small following,” Nawrocki said. “What I wanted to do originally when I took over the position was host a music festival with a bunch of really great bands. Unfortunately, we just don’t have the budget for something like that, so if I couldn’t do that, I wanted to make sure we had one solid band to hang our hats on that a wide range of people really enjoy.”

For Nawrocki, the Boys Like Girls concert involves a lot of wrangling to get all the details in place. With a budget of $50,000, all from student fees, he spends his time working on hospitality riders (a list of requests and safety regulations) for the band, talking with agents, and making sure that the stage will fit inside the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion and comply with fire safety regulations.

“It’s really a painstaking process that not a lot of people realize or appreciate until they’re on the other end,” Nawrocki said. “You really have no idea how much effort goes into getting that band on that stage for that one hour.”

This year, the UPC has a full-time program coordinator, Ria Vigil, a graduate of Colorado State University who started in August.

Boys Like Girls
For those not in-the-know on Boys Like Girls, the bands originates from Massachusetts and was formed in late 2005. Singer Martin Johnson got together with bass player Bryan Donahue, drummer John Keefe, and guitarist Paul DiGiovanni to record some songs that Johnson had written. The group opened an account on PureVolume.com, and by the end of the year were number one on the Web site’s “Top Unsigned Artists” list. In 2006 they were picked up by Columbia Records and released a self-titled album, which hit number 55 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Their current album, “Love Drunk,” came out in September of last year and is currently number eight on the Billboard Top 200.

“I advise and supervise,” Vigil said. “I hire students to fill these roles on the council, and the council pretty much gets a lot of freedom to decide what programs they want to put on.”

Vigil helps keep the UPC on track, meeting members one-on-one every week to discuss their progress. She also spends time talking with agents who are not taking the students seriously – a common problem at the UPC.

Aside from resistance from agents, Konechne said that much of the difficulties of setting up events consist of legalities.

“We work with contracts, the university contracts,” Konechne said. “And we have to make sure we’re staying within UNC regulation, and also conforming to contracts, too.”

Despite those problems, the UPC hasn’t had a major failure recently. Konechne recalled an incident from a couple of years ago where a performer ran over on the sprinkler systems at Nottingham Field, but said it didn’t end up being that bad.

“Sometimes we’ll have a small amount of people at an event,” Konechne said. “It stinks, but you kind of have to learn from that.” Photo caption: David Nawrocki, the arts and entertainment coordinator for the University Program Council, works on his computer in the UPC office.