Moving to next August
For those who were ready to hear T-Pain sing “Bartender” or “Buy U A Drank”, you’ll have to wait just a little longer. The Findlay Music Festival was originally scheduled for April 4, then moved to Oct.10, but is postponed again due to COVID-19. It was a decision that was heavily talked about and discussed, but UF SGA President, Olunife Akinmolayan, says UF isn’t the only university making tough decisions.
“It was hard [postponing FMF again] but I appreciate all who helped make it what it is and hopefully it will be able to happen with how we envisioned it,” said Akinmolayan. “But we’re not the only university going through this, there were many events canceled across many different colleges and universities. Many probably canceled the events, some postponed them as we did.”
But this isn’t the end of the road for T-Pain or FMF. The plan, according to Akinmolayan, is to have the concert next year.
“We want to try and make [the concert] happen. It’s for the students and the artists want to make it happen too. We are currently renegotiating those contracts and making sure we’re squared away,” said Akinmolayan. “We are looking at August of 2021 for the new date.”
There was an option from DEGI Entertainment, the agency in which SGA booked the artists, to do a virtual concert for UF students, and while it was considered by SGA, Akinmolayan opted for a traditional concert for FMF.
“DEGI Entertainment came to us with a virtual concert pitch, with their new software which would make students feel like they were inside the concert but we felt as though for the amount we were paying and the things that we originally negotiated in our contracts, we wanted to pursue a live concert,” said Akinmolayan. “We shot down the idea of a virtual experience because it would feel the same for students. Students wouldn’t be able to feel that concert/festival experience.”
The last time the University of Findlay had an on-campus concert was Jason Derulo in 2016 and it did not meet SGA’s expectations. It sold 2,366 tickets to the Derulo Concert missing the target number of 3,000 according to Forrest Miller, Former SGA President, as told to Sarah Stubbs in a September 2016 article in the Pulse. However, Akinmolayan was very confident that this concert was going to be successful.
“We still think that if anything, this will help sell tickets because it will be one of those first events where we can have mass gatherings and we think not only the students would be eager to go, but also the Findlay community,” Akinmolayan said. “We were doing well financially anyway; our budgets were doing well, and I liked where we were at. We sold a lot of tickets for FMF and that was just by announcing one of the two artists. It goes to show that the event had people interested.”
An email sent by Dave Emsweller, VP of Student Affairs at UF on Oct. 2 said everyone who purchased a ticket to FMF will receive a refund immediately without taking action of their own. Akinmolayan said they sent those out just last week and they should have been refunded to everyone already.
In the original plan for FMF, there was going to be a community-wide, all-day music festival with local music groups. As of now, there is not a plan to bring that to the next rendition of FMF, but it isn’t out of the question to bring them back either. It truly depends on where the United States is regarding its mitigation efforts of COVID-19. But it also depends if the new SGA President wants to pursue doing that because Akinmolayan will no longer be president when August 2021 comes around.
“It depends on a couple of different factors, the first being that we want to create a safe environment for everyone depending on the status of COVID and how the U.S. is doing in their efforts to suppress the virus. Then we can assess if we want to have the day festival or not,” said Akinmolayan. “Also, just keeping this is my last year as President of SGA, but I am confident that whoever takes over this project will do well with it. But I am confident it will be a great event regardless of who is in charge.”