This fall, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County is hosting two big names in hip hop thanks to the university’s Student Events Board (SEB). DaBaby and Megan Thee Stallion will perform in November for SEB’s first Fall Fest, a series of two concerts on Nov. 14 and 21, respectively.
On Oct. 7, excited students gathered on Commons Mainstreet to watch SEB drop a banner announcing the first Fall Fest artist, Megan Thee Stallion. When the tickets went on sale the following week, they sold out in just 12 minutes. “In the three and a half years I’ve been in SEB, I’ve never seen that happen,” said Mayra Perez Olivier, a senior psychology major and the president of SEB. Students were allowed to purchase two tickets each, totaling “700 or so” people filling the UC Ballroom.
But SEB wasn’t done yet. Just two hours after the Megan Thee Stallion tickets went on sale and immediately sold out, students gathered on Mainstreet once again for a banner drop. This time, SEB announced DaBaby as Fall Fest’s second artist. Although these tickets have not sold out yet, Perez said that most of the 3,750 tickets have already been purchased. Since DaBaby’s concert will take place in the Retriever Activities Center, SEB allowed students to purchase four tickets each and later opened the concert up to faculty, staff and alumni as well.
Perez attributed the negotiations and booking the artists to Jen Dress, the Associate Director of Campus Life, who began communicating with the artists’ managers over the summer. “We have really good relationships with agencies, so we get really cool performers to come out,” Perez added.
After Dress hammered out the details, the SEB executive board officers were the next to know about the concerts. “We found out about it at our summer retreat,” said sophomore biology and psychology major Anna Parker, an event programmer for the organization. “We had to keep it a secret for a long time.”
SEB has handled most of the promotion for the concerts, including promotional videos created by the designers and marketers on staff. The organization is also responsible for many tasks the day of the concerts, including helping set up the stage, line control and cleaning up. “A big part of what our job is… is making sure that everything goes okay,” said Perez. “That’s essentially our big role in any concert that comes to UMBC.”
Perez says that UMBC students can hopefully expect more Fall Fests in the coming years, especially because performers tend to be more available in the fall than in the spring. “In the spring, we run into the problem of… music festivals,” Perez said. “So it’s more likely that we can get artists in the fall.”
Despite the general excitement over the two concerts, Perez noted that SEB has heard allegations of sexism voiced around campus by those who dislike the decisions to host Megan Thee Stallion in the UC Ballroom and DaBaby in the RAC. “That’s based on a contract, that’s what a lot of people don’t know,” said Perez. She cited Ali Wong and Kesha, two major female artists who have held events in the RAC in the past.
Although there are critics of the concerts, Perez and Parker agree that the feedback has been generally very positive. “Overall, it’s going to be a lot of genuine excitement,” said Parker.