The Buzz on Bluffstock: 11th annual fall concert will feature Less Than Jake and Punchline
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 00:09
Bluffstock returns with headliner Less Than Jake and Pittsburgh-native Punchline on Sept. 15 in the Union Ballroom.
Bluffstock is the Duquesne Program Council’s annual free concert for students.
Planning for this year’s concert began in April when DPC music co-directors Anna Brenner, a junior pharmacy major, and Steph Berrillo, a senior secondary education and social studies major, selected Less Than Jake as Bluffstock’s performer, Brenner said.
Brenner and Berrillo chose an act that they believed would appeal to the widest range of students while also staying within their budget, said Berillo, adding that the main appeal of this year’s bands was their ability to attract a larger crowd.
“Punchline’s a really popular local band,” Berrillo said. “And Less Than Jake’s music is really upbeat and still Rock and Roll, so hopefully that will attract more people.”
“Less Than Jake is an awesome performer,” Brenner said. “Anyone who has seen them play knows that, even if they weren’t as big of fans of their music.”
The DPC will spend approximately $20,000 on this year’s concert, said Marc Grandillo, campus director for the DPC. Budgets for Bluffstock vary from about $12,000 to $20,000, most of which covers the performers’ fee and the remainder the cost of lighting, the sound system and security, Grandillo said.
In comparison, Carnegie Mellon University will spend $50,000 each on its large concerts, which occur twice a year in the fall and spring semesters, said Abhi Kelkar, the music chair of CMU’s Activities Board. On its two to three mid-level concerts, the board will spend between $5,000 and $10,000, and on its small concerts $1,000 to $2,000.
The University of Pittsburgh declined to disclose its budgets for musical acts, said special events director for the Pitt Program Council, Samantha Bycrua. She stated that this year’s budget is comparable with years past.
Grandillo was not surprised by the budgets of neighboring universities.
“A university like Pitt is going to have a larger budget,” he said. “They have capabilities that we don’t. They have facilities that we don’t. We’re looking at different kinds of events.”
According to Berrillo, the limited budget is one of the challenges of planning Bluffstock.
“It’s pretty hard because we’re a smaller school and we don’t get a lot of money,” she said.
The DPC starts to advertise for Bluffstock when students arrive on campus in the fall, featuring the event on their Facebook page, Twitter, Campus Link and also through flyers. This year, the DPC is also hoping to place a speaker outside of the Union during the concert to attract a larger audience, Brenner said.
Their greatest advertising method, Brenner said, is word of mouth, adding that this is especially true on a smaller campus.
“The fact that we are smaller, the word spreads a little faster,” she said. “More people can talk about it and know about it.”
Despite the advertising, the DPC was disappointed at the attendance of last year’s Hellogoodbye performance, which only attracted about 200 people, and hopes to increase attendance this year, said Berrillo.
Attendance for Bluffstock varies depending on the performer, Grandillo said. The highest number in recent years was for Gym Class Heroes’ 2007 performance when approximately 700 people attended.
“We’re hoping for a crowd of 400 to 500,” Grandillo said. “As far as event planning goes, you never know what to expect.”
CMU’s larger events, which have featured bands such as Passion Pit and Tokyo Police Club, usually attract crowds of 2,000, Kelkar said. All concerts are free to CMU students, but the board will occasionally charge a $10 entrance fee to the public.
Pitt’s three annual musical events -- Fall Fest, a hip-hop Spring concert, and Bigelow Bash -- feature artists such as Kid Cudi, Jack’s Mannequi and last year’s Bigelow Bash performer, Ke$ha.