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Concert security issues draw to close as artist is announced

Reel Big Fish perform for students on Sept. 4 on the Staller Steps. USG scheduled the group for opening activities. (NINA LIN/ THE STATESMAN)
Reel Big Fish perform for students on Sept. 4 on the Staller Steps. USG scheduled the group for opening activities. (NINA LIN/ THE STATESMAN)

The music of Kendrick Lamar filled a college stadium this past weekend. But this stadium was not at Stony Brook University—it was at SUNY Buffalo.

Rumors have circulated around campus that the reason why Stony Brook University is not having Kendrick Lamar perform at the end of the year concert is because SUNY Buffalo had already claimed him. Marc Rosenblitt, the Student Activities Entertainment coordinator at SUNY Buffalo, knew nothing of this rumor and USG officials at SBU are claiming it is not true.

There were many factors that had to be considered for this year’s Brookfest concert.

The first obstacle was that Stony Brook University Arena, which typically holds concerts, is under construction during the dates of the concert.

According to USG president Anna Lubitz, she felt the best alternative was to hold the concert in the Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium because it would allow the most people possible to attend.

After the venue was chosen, potential dates had to be determined.

According to Zachary Guarnero, student programming director, a talent agency called Concert Ideas was contacted and USG received a list of artists available in the price range of the university.

A vote was held in December regarding who should perform.

Dates for the concert also took time to clear because USG could not conflict with any previously scheduled sports games. After the vote, the university decided to pursue Kendrick Lamar and Steve Aoki.

University police must clear who performs before any decisions are made. The department does a thorough background check in order to ensure the safety of Stony Brook students, according to Guarnero.

This time, Inspector Robert Swan called three universities who had hosted Lamar and three universities who had hosted Aoki in the past. This is where problems emerged.

Upon contacting universities, it was discovered that Aoki concerts held at other universities were wrought with hospital transports due to the ‘slam dancing’ that often occurred during performances.

‘Slam dancing’ is a form of moshing where people throw themselves into each other, usually moving around in a circle, resulting in many student injuries.

Due to the fact that Aoki did not pass security checks and Lamar came as a package deal with Aoki, the university did not feel comfortable allowing the performance.

The change in venue raised security questions with planning beginning months in advance, according to Assistant Chief of Police Eric Olsen.

As the concert date approaches, the venue is surveyed. University police work with a private firm that will also be providing security and together decide on both the number of officers necessary and where to best position those officers to ensure the safety of the attendees.

Officers will arrive several hours before the concert begins and will stay in place until all the attendees have safely left the area.

Bruno Mars sings at Brookfest 2011 in the university arena in the Sports Complex.  The arena is currently under construction. (ALEEF RAHMAN/ THE STATESMAN)
Bruno Mars sings at Brookfest 2011 in the university arena in the Sports Complex. The arena is currently under construction. (ALEEF RAHMAN/ THE STATESMAN)

There will also be additional officers on patrol all over campus after the concert to ensure the safety of the attendees as they return to the residence halls, their vehicles and public transportation options.

The University Police are consulted, but do not take part in the final decision on where the concert would take place.

A representative from the campus police department attends weekly Events Management Committee, or “EMC,” meetings with Student Activities and USG representatives.

Atlanta-based rapper Ludacris was announced as the headliner for this year’s Brookfest end-of-the-year concert.

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