By Melissa Savignano
SU students can officially mark their calendars. University Union has set Juice Jam of 2010 for Sunday, September 12. Juice Jam, an early-semester staple at Syracuse University, serves as both an involvement fair and a live music venue. This fall, University Union Concerts will put on the seventh annual Juice Jam concert after a record setting 2009 concert.
Regardless of how well last year’s show went off, there’s no predicting if another 4,000+ tickets will be sold this year, “We have a lot of good momentum from last year, so we want to keep that up,” Andrew Beyda, UU President, says. “However, each year is new and different, so it’s difficult to predict how well we will do.”
UU plans for the concert months ahead of time in order to create a concert the majority of the SU community will enjoy. Since Juice Jam also provides an opportunity for new students to learn about organizations on campus, UU looks for a variety acts.
“Juice Jam is a concert and a student organization fair. It gets people involved.
We want to attract a lot of people. We might not get the biggest artists but we want a better range,” Beyda says. The annual spring Block Party show serves as an end of the year party, so UU tries to find the big artist with the wow factor for that show. Although 2010’s Block Party featured hip-hop artist Drake, genres of past concerts do not factor into the Juice Jam decisions, Beyda added.
Early this summer, UU sent out a survey to students via OrgSync and Facebook to help make the decision on what artists to invite. UU staff generates the survey first by brainstorming popular musical acts. “I feel the UU staff has a good deal of knowledge about the musical tastes of Syracuse students. During booking season, UU concerts sits down and come up with roughly 20 artists,” Beyda says.
What comes from that list is based on whether artists are touring and cost. Then UU breaks down available artists into headlining and supporting acts and creates the survey.
SU students vote for who they want to see perform, selecting from a group of about 20 artists, ranging from indie band Phoenix to Top 40 artist Ke$ha. Then, the survey prompts them to list their dream Juice Jam set, regardless of how much the artists may cost. UU tries to base their eventual decisions on student feedback, but selected acts aren’t necessarily the top voted for. It all falls on availability, both money and time wise. While some artists are completely out of price range, the open-ended questions at the end allow UU to collect as much data as possible while reminding students that limitations prevent you from getting exactly what you want.
The survey, now in its third year of existence, has evolved over time. This is the first year the survey has gone through OrgSync instead of Survey Monkey, so any student with an OrgSync account, as well as fans of UU’s Facebook page and its Twitter followers, could access the survey. UU has discussed sending out a mass e-mail to the SU community closer to the start of the school year.
Although survey data from 2007 remains available, UU focuses on the most current survey information for their 2010 decision making. While the artist with the most votes may not actually play at Juice Jam, the organizers try to book artists from the most popular genres.
“In the past, the genres with the most votes are hip-hop and what I call college rock-alternative, mainstream, indie rock. Top 40 is popular but is expensive. Also, I am aware of a country following at Syracuse so we do factor in fans of other genres,” Beyda says.
Regardless of the survey’s outcome, Beyda stresses that it all comes down to price and availability.
“A lot of artists are just out of budget – bands like Coldplay… We do our best based on our budget and size. Based on based past reception, we have been pretty successfully thus far.”
UU plans to release Juice Jam’s performers at the beginning of fall semester.