Post Classifieds

Dylan concert proposal fails after admin withholds approval

By Andrew Wingens
On December 4, 2012

After several months of discussions and proposals, bringing Bob Dylan to campus for an extended SpringFest this spring is no longer on the table.

Jesse Manning '13, an organizer of the proposal to bring Bob Dylan back to Brandeis for the 50th anniversary of his initial concert here, said that he could not move forward with the plan because it was not approved by the administration within the necessary time frame.

"The time frame that we, the students, set up for ourselves ran out without getting a 'yes,' therefore we weren't comfortable going forward with it. And the administration wasn't comfortable saying yes by the time that our deadline was up," he said.

Manning, general manager of WBRS and Student Union chief of staff, said he is now proposing an idea for an indoor one-day concert in Gosman Sports and Convocation Center rather than an outdoors folk festival.

Manning was careful to say that the idea is still in the planning stages and hasn't been vetted by all the necessary channels at the University. The event would include a headliner and several other bands from about 2 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, the day prior to SpringFest.

He declined to name the headliner, but said that it would be a "big name." Manning also declined to say how much the concert would cost or how much tickets would be sold for to non-Brandeis students, only saying that both would be less than the original plan for a Bob Dylan-centric folk festival.

Manning said in a previous interview that the tickets for the folk festival would have cost about $90 for non-Brandeis people. Flagel, in an interview with the Justice last month, had cited the cost of bringing Dylan to Brandeis at about $300,000. The total cost of the festival would have been undoubtedly higher with the additional costs associated with an open outdoor concert.

Manning said the concert would ideally be open to 5,000 non-students, which includes staff, alumni and others not within the Brandeis community, as well as 2,000 students, who could receive free tickets.

Flagel could not be reached for comment by press time for this article. In an interview last month he expressed concerns about the original plan for a Bob Dylan folk festival.

The original plan proposed by the group of students, including Alex Pilger '13 and Michael Zonenashvili '13, was to have a two-day folk festival with the first day headlined by Bob Dylan. The festival would have been free for students and it would have been open to 4,300 people from off campus.

That plan then changed into a one-day folk festival headlined by Dylan with a "bigger" and separate SpringFest the following day. Ticket prices for the folk festival would have likely exceeded $90, according to Manning.

Flagel expressed skepticism about the viability of the original plan in an interview with the Justice in early November. The risks Flagel cited included the openness of the concert to the external community and the additional challenges that that openness would inevitably bring, such as increased security and traffic.

Manning said that the administration should be more "comfortable" with the indoor proposal because it is along the lines of something the University has done before-Commencement, for example, garners a large crowd each year.

"They do it for Commencement, they've done it for John Mayer, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton ... So I don't think it's as much of an issue as it was with an outside event," said Manning.  

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