Students on the floor during Back to the Brook 2015.
Students on the floor during Back to the Brook 2015. KRYSTEN MASSA/THE STATESMAN

With this year’s Back to the Brook featuring hip-hop artist Fetty Wap and producer RL Grime right around the corner, it is important to know how these artists are chosen each year.

Max Shaps, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations for Undergraduate Student Government, said that this year, it all started with a Facebook poll.

“We put a bunch of popular artists like Rae Sremmurd and Iggy Azalea on the list,” he said. “The top few artists are always hip-hop
or EDM.”

He added that after the poll was published on USG’s Facebook page, many students sent him messages asking why Canadian rapper Drake was absent from the list.


Shaps said that Drake was excluded because it would cost over one million dollars to host him on campus. USG’s budget simply did not allow for that kind of spending.

After the poll results were in, the Athletics Department was contacted. They provided three dates within USG’s favorable time slot in which the Island Federal Credit Union Arena could be booked. Shaps revealed that there are many different calendars and timelines that have to work together in order to make Back to the Brook a reality.

USG then reached out to the top performers from the poll that are within the affordability range.

This range includes the entire cost of the production staff and payment to the artists. USG presented their options to an agency called Concert Ideas, which determined the availability and cost of the top contenders. There were some failed attempts to obtain certain performers.


“The top choice on the list was The Chainsmokers,” Shaps said. “One in three voters on the poll chose them. We gave them a pretty good offer, but it turns out they also got an offer to play at [Electric Zoo]. So we got rejected by them, which sucks.”

Then came the most stressful part of the process: the deliberation phase. Since the concert takes place only three weeks after classes start, the Student Activities Board had to work within a tight timeframe.

There were hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, so they needed to make an informed decision that they believed would satisfy a majority of the student body. Shaps said that the board is comprised of individuals with a diverse taste in music.

“One of the artists was decided by only one person because there was a split vote,” Shaps added.

Once the artist is decided upon, Concert Ideas is contacted and they book the performers. Despite the rift in votes, Shaps is confident that Back to the Brook ticket reservations will sell out in minutes.


This concert became an annual tradition after its debut in Fall 2013. Past artists for the show include Mac Miller, The Cataracs, Lupe Fiasco, Timeflies and Walk the Moon.

DJ Steve Aoki was a top choice to perform at the first concert, but he failed the security check put in place by the University Police Department.

As part of this security check, each artist that performs must have three recommendations.

Steven Benz, a sophomore chemical engineering major, did not attend Back to the Brook last year, but he plans to go this year. “It’s usually pretty cheap and it’s a lot of fun,” he said.

According to the concert’s Facebook event page, ticket reservations will be available on Aug. 28 at 8 p.m.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.