Music Fest faces downsizing due to smaller budget

This year will mark the 10th anniversary of Hofstra’s student-run concert, Music Fest. However despite being allocated about one-fourth of the Student Government Association’s (SGA) budget, Hofstra Concerts and Entertainment Unlimited are struggling financially to make this year’s concert even better than the rest.

Creating the largest student-run event at Hofstra costs a fortune. Hofstra Concerts and Entertainment Unlimited divide responsibilities and costs for the event. President of EU, Gabriella Munoz explained, “Hofstra Concerts deals solely with the artists, and the stage. EU does the rides, the food, all of the tables, all of the chairs and all of the tents. We also do the work order which is actually one of the most expensive things.”

According to Munoz, in past years, EU has been allocated between $20,000 and  $25,000 to cover their costs for the event. “Two years ago, Music Fest 2014, we had gotten a $20,000 budget. Last year we got $5,000,” Munoz said. The downward trend continued this year, when SGA initially denied EU any funds for Music Fest.

Erin Casey, SGA appropriations chair, explained why her committee made this decision. “Originally we didn’t give EU any money for Music Fest because [Hofstra Concerts] deals with the bulk of renting the stage and the artists. So we tried to give the bulk of it to them to make sure that they could do the artists and everything. Not that EU’s part is any less significant, it’s just that [Hofstra Concerts] asked for more money so we tried to give them the bulk of it.”

After initially being denied funds, EU appealed to the appropriations committee and was allocated $1,000. The club then went to one of the committee’s weekly meetings, and was given another $4,000 to match the budget they had last year of $5,000.

Hofstra Concerts was allocated $76,000 this semester and according to Casey, they got a big chunk of SGA’s budget. “We had to come up with a number that could help Music Fest. It was lower than what we wanted, but it was what we could do. I think Hofstra Concerts for Music Fest got a total of 1/4 of the budget that we had and that was just for one club,” Casey said.

However this number was still significantly lower than the $90,000 the club got for Music Fest last year. Jeremy Sporn, president of Hofstra Concerts, explained why the event costs so much. “A lot of the services and costs are very high to bring in artists and production and sound equipment. It seems like a lot of money, but when it comes down to the stuff on paper and how much these acts actually cost, its crazy,” he said.

The money that SGA has to allocate to clubs comes from the student activity fee that all students pay when they enroll in the university. “Depending on enrollment and whether it is up or down, that dictates how much money we have for a semester. So if enrollment is low, we have less money to allocate versus if it is higher, we have more. The money is being spread thinner as the years go on. Now there’s less money and more clubs so it’s really hard to get the clubs everything they need and not favor one club over the other,” Casey said.

Dean of Students Sofia Pertuz recognized this issue. “I would love for every club that wants to do something for them to be fully resourced the way that they would like. I feel, if they didn’t get funding, that means another group got funding. If that means that more student groups, a variety of student groups get more funding, than I think it’s a balance,” she said.

Full-time undergraduate students currently pay an activity fee of $80 per term. The fee was raised $10 last year, all of which goes to SGA and is not divided within the Office of Student Affairs like the other $70.

Munoz said that although many people blame SGA for lack of funds, they are not the problem.  “I know that they’ve given us what they can give us, and so I don’t blame them anymore,” she said. “OSLE keeps approving all of these clubs, but yet SGA’s budget isn’t growing. I think that’s part of the problem. I think that clubs can be consolidated. There doesn’t need to be a million clubs that are doing basically the same thing,” she said.

With the decrease in available funds, Hofstra Concerts will make the most with what they have. “We’re going to try to get an artist that’s going to be fun, that most people are going to enjoy. It sucks that we can’t get some larger names, that more people know, because we just don’t have the money,” Sporn said.

Music Fest has been around longer than even Fall Fest, and Pertuz said that the Hofstra community should make the most out of this anniversary celebration. “I think any time there’s any anniversary, I think we want to celebrate more but there’s so many ways to do that, that can bring school spirit, that don’t always cost money. So I think that we can probably brainstorm and think of some different things we can do this year to make it really special,” she said.

Sporn said, “Whether or not you like the music or you like the artists, the show is free. It’s on a nice day at the end of April right before you go into hard studying for finals or go away for the summer. Enjoy the day.”

The 10th anniversary of Music Fest is scheduled to take place on April 30.

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