Behind the scenes at the Homecoming concert

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Meet SCOPE, the organization behind the annual Homecoming Concert.

By Elianna Novitch

elianna-novitch@uiowa.edu

The tradition of hosting a free concert on the Pentacrest at the end of the Homecoming Parade is anticipated for by many in the University of Iowa community. But it’s the group behind the scenes putting on the production that is truly the interesting part of the tradition.

Meet SCOPE, the university’s independent and completely student-run talent-buying group. It is the organization behind the variety of concerts hosted around campus throughout the academic year.

“The amount of control that our organization has over what we do is so cool,” SCOPE general manager Alex Tang said. “That allows us to bring the acts that we think are going to be good for students, for the locals [to Iowa City]. It allows us to really have a decision in what goes on, and I think that’s the best part.”

At 8 p.m. Friday, after months of hard work, planning, and stress, the IMU Main Lounge will be transformed into a mass of energy fueled by the live music of Vérité, an electro-pop group from New York, and Saint Motel, a California indie-pop band.

Originally scheduled to take place on the Pentacrest, the show was moved because of a strong chance of rain.

With the Homecoming Concert being SCOPE’s largest production of the year, each member in the organization has worked hard for months to make it possible, even more so the week leading up to the show.

For production director Alyson Neiner, the work consists of working with the production company to get the stage set up including lighting, sound, and the loading of instruments, amps, and speakers.

“I love my job,” she said. “The first thing I tell people is how stressful it is and how stressed out I am, but then, when they ask why I do it, I tell them that this has literally been my dream. I’m living my dream right now. This is exactly what I’ve wanted to do for so, so long.”

Students are involved in every process of putting on the show, from hospitality for the acts and marketing the show to setting up equipment on stage.

“[Students will] help load in all the production equipment, they’ll help hang the lights, they’ll bring in all the instruments, and speakers, and amps to set those up. It’s a huge help,” Neiner said. “We have like 50 people in our organization, and everyone is busy during Homecoming, everybody is doing something.”

For SCOPE talent buyer Savannah Lane, the work for the Homecoming show began in May. Lane is in charge of booking shows and negotiating contracts with artists from around the world.

“I was pretty relieved once I got it booked,” she said. “I started working on this show in May. I booked it sometime in June or July, and then I just had to wait until we announced.”

On the day of the show, Lane will work with the artists directly to make sure they have everything they need and know their schedule throughout the day.

As general manager, Tang oversees the subcommittees of the organization including hospitality, production, finance, marketing, public relations, and research and development, ensuring they have what they need to do their various jobs.

“You have to trust the people you’re working with. Obviously, I can’t do all of it,” Tang said. “Just making sure that everyone has what they need to do their job is the biggest thing. We have such a great organization that it’s easy for me. Our leaders are all good.”

The amount of work put into each show can be stressful, but the end product makes it worthwhile, Lane said.

“Finally seeing it come to fruition will be just a sigh of relief for me and everybody in SCOPE who’s been working so hard on this show,” she said. “I’m super excited to see the crowd’s reaction, because the reason I got into music was because going to shows makes me so happy, and I can’t wait to see that happening and know that I was a part of it.”

Lane said people don’t know just how much work goes into putting on a show helps motivate members of the organization.

“It helps you keep in mind why you’re doing it,” Lane said. “The fact that they don’t know how much work goes into it, they just can appreciate it for what the show is, makes you want to make it that much better in a way.”

Neiner said she is thankful for the work she gets to do through SCOPE.

“I don’t think people realize just how much work goes into it, and it’s totally student-run. We all go into our positions blind and have to figure it out a lot on our own,” she said. “It’s crazy, but it’s such a unique experience that not many people get to talk about. It has definitely shaped my time here at Iowa.”

 

Who: Saint Motel with Vérité

What: Free Homecoming concert

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: IMU Main Lounge

 

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