It’s that time of year again, Oles: the air’s got a crisp bite to it, multicolored leaves rain down onto the quad with every gust of wind and the big reveal of this year’s Fall Concert performer is right around the corner. As the date of the concert, Oct. 21, draws ever nearer, MEC Coordinator Kjersa Anderson ’18 reflects on the months of research and organizational meetings that she and the other MEC members dedicated to planning this show.
“We come into our MEC meeting and write the names of 100 or more artists on the board. We start to cross off who’s not feasible, usually based on their price range or whether the lyrics are especially explicit … and we usually come away with 20 or 30 names. I have to book dates in The Pause five months in advance, so we start planning for Fall Concert in May. We try to have [the artist] picked by early June and confirmed by early September,” said Anderson.
“Jesse McCartney was here last fall … I think he was a fun option because it was a throwback and it helped us change up the genre, but he might have even said some provocative things on stage,” Anderson said with a chuckle.
“I know it was a big hit for all the girls! We were grateful that it was someone we actually knew, and it was good to have that throwback on our campus. He knew how to hype up a crowd,” Karina De Leon ’18 said about the teen heartthrob’s Pause performance.
More often than not, Oles had very different musicians in mind when asked who they would like to see on the Mane Stage this October. “Usually Fall Concert has smaller [artists], but I want to see Khalid. He came to my friend’s campus at a university in Tennessee so maybe he could come here too?” De Leon said.
“I would love to see Fiona Apple. I just want to see some ‘90s/early 2000s acoustic pop back, you know?” Christian Conway ’18 said.
Alanis Morissette was also a popular choice among those hoping to see another “oldy but goody.” Indie artists have a place in the hearts of many Oles as well, including Andrew McMahon, In The Wilderness, Wet, Ira Wolf and Iron & Wine.
At the end of the day, it’s challenging enough to find mid-range artists with a schedule that works for MEC.
“It’s pretty hard to reach out to the St. Olaf community for suggestions because a lot of people say, ‘Oh, we want Kendrick Lamar!’ or ‘Let’s get Beyonce!’ It all has to do with availability, price and what their agent is like.” Anderson said.
While Anderson has high hopes for the star of this year’s Fall Concert, her lips remain sealed until early October, when the artist’s name is made public.
We can do nothing but cling to our hopes – and our Spotify playlists – until MEC lets us all in on this season’s best-kept secret.