A long lineup snakes its way up Rosser Avenue during last year’s Rock the Block concert in downtown Brandon. Gates open for tonight’s event, headlined by The Sheepdogs, at 6:30 p.m.
As much as Rock the Block is for students, it’s also about getting the community together for a night of music in the Downtown Hub, according to organizers.
"We know that not every student is going to go to the event, so we are trying to appeal to a broader range of people, which is why we bring in so many different types of music," said Jenna Clinton, Brandon University Students’ Union vice-president external.
This year, BUSU is spending roughly $60,000 on performers for tonight’s event, which include Dallas Smith, Helix and The Sheepdogs. Clinton said booking bands can sometimes be a long and "frustrating" process.
"There’s a lot of negotiating with council," she said.
To narrow down a final list of bands, BUSU members choose their top five and then the list is shortened for a final time during a council meeting.
Besides getting ideas for different acts from agencies, they also had a poll on the BUSU website this year asking students to vote for their favourite type of music.
"Country was definitely one of them, the second was rock, so we were trying to appeal to those genres," BUSU president Stephanie Bachewich said.
With poll results in mind, BUSU is excited to be welcoming a country act to the stage this year.
"Dallas Smith was thrown in at the very end," Clinton said. "He’s up and coming in the genre and people love him."
While the thought of spending their entire budget on one main act has crossed their minds, they prefer to offer a variety of music at the event.
"We were thinking about that this year," Clinton said. "But then the people that were pitched to us, we didn’t think they would do well, regardless of how much we spent on them."
One of the bigger acts they were considering was Theory of a Deadman, not knowing the popular rock group would hit the stage at Rockin’ the Fields of Minnedosa.
"We didn’t know that at the time," Clinton said. "We were thinking of booking them and then two days later it was announced that they were playing in Minnedosa."
BUSU estimates the event will end up costing more than $100,000, funds they hope to earn back with ticket and alcohol sales.
"It all depends on the weather, I think the bands are a big part of it and getting the word out," Bachewich said.
And all funds made during the event go directly back into the services that BUSU provides, Clinton said.
"Last year (BU) had a campus Christmas and they spent however much money providing small gifts for international students who couldn’t go home for Christmas," she said. "If we didn’t have extra money from things like Rock the Block, we wouldn’t be able to have that in the budget. So we like to make money just so that we can do more for our students."
As of Thursday afternoon, 1,400 tickets had been sold. The event allows for 3,000.
Advance tickets are $25 for students and $30 for non-students. They can be purchased at the BUSU office from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets at the gate are $30 for students, $35 for non-students. Gates to the event along Rosser Avenue between Seventh and Ninth streets open at 6:30 p.m. tonight.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 13, 2013