By Claire Dalzon
Nothing screams the start of a Rider school year like the announcement of the Fall concert lineup. The biggest event of the school year is here, and the Student Entertainment Council (SEC) continues its reputation of not disappointing.
With his latest critically acclaimed album, Dark Sky Paradise, released this year, which earned him his first No. 1 record on Billboard and radio hits like “I Don’t F With You,” “Clique” and “Blessings” featuring Drake and Kanye West, Big Sean was undoubtedly the first choice of SEC committee members when deciding on entertainers to perform at the concert on Oct. 16.
A-list artists like J. Cole, Miguel, Kelly Rowland and We The Kings have graced the Rider stage in the past. When rap superstar Big Sean and special guest Justine Skye were announced as the performers for this year’s show, the long line of students that wrapped around the SRC just to grab a ticket was not a surprise.
So how does Rider book the hottest acts every year?
Nicholas Barbati, assistant director of Campus Life, has been the advisor of the SEC since 2007. He is not only the liaison between the committee and the booking agencies, but he also helps in planning one of the university’s larger-scale events.
“Each year, the SEC will work with a middle agent in identifying performers that are available during the school year that are also in our budget range,” Barbati said. “From that point, the students prioritize their list and then we work with the agents in exploring the possibility of their top selections coming to Rider.”
Once the list is narrowed down, the SEC crosses its fingers and plays the waiting game.
“When all the information is gathered, the SEC sends a proposal to an artist and it is up to the artist to accept or decline,” Barbati explained. “That process continues until an artist accepts the invitation to come Rider.”
Hip-hop fans should also be excited to know that Instagram star turned R&B sensation Justine Skye will be part of the three-hour show as well.
“Students can expect an excellent show,” Barbati said. “We have a world-class performer and excellent production that will make them proud that Rider University is the school they call home.”
The big name of Big Sean impressed many students, including freshman business administration major Victoria Miller.
“I was actually surprised that it was Big Sean because he is kind of a big deal,” said Miller. “I’m going and I am super-excited. It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun.”
Freshman education major Angela Toscano is also grateful for chance to see him.
“I think it’s amazing that we get the opportunity to see such artists such as Big Sean for free, thanks to Rider,” she said.