When Simon Fraser Student Society President Enoch Weng posted on social media, “What YouTube artists would you like to see come to Vancouver?” it seemed like part of a larger plan that was yet to come.
However, during a tense SFSS board meeting a few weeks ago, plans to host an alternative music concert in April showcasing local talent and a YouTube star were ultimately shot down after a month of planning from Weng.
The idea was conceived before Weng assumed the role of SFSS President. He expressed interest in providing another genre of music to SFU, in contrast to recent EDM-centric SFU concerts. Weng started researching in November and sought out quotes from YouTube artists, such as Andrew Garcia and Linda Dong.
The event, which would have potentially hosted hundreds of students at the Vancouver Playhouse, marked the first time SFSS considered an off-campus concert. Weng, along with Tiana Allinan, president of SFU Vanstyle, produced the final proposal to the board on Feb. 26.
During discussions on whether the proposal should go through, criticisms were raised in regard to the timeline, resources available, and its benefits to the school. Though the proposal ultimately did not succeed, the new idea wasn’t totally rejected by the board.
“The thing they really liked was that it was a shift from the old, so it was bringing in a new genre,” said Weng. “Largely, it was because of timing [. . .] I brought it up in February and the proposed event would have been in the end of April, giving us two and a half months.”
The proposal was rejected, though, because of the aforementioned problems, according to SFSS VP University Relations Brady Yano.
“There was concern with executing the event so late in our terms, with the new board just beginning to come into office,” said Yano. “Also in terms of other projects that would be wrapping up at that point [. . .] and due to the limited capacity of the board to participate.”
The proposal also raised the question on where the priorities of the society lie at the present time, according to SFSS External Kathleen Yang.
“Is this concert really in the best interests of our 30,000 members?” asked Yang. “It’s really hard for me to know that we’re spending $25,000 per concert, with the resources and time of the staff and volunteers. There’s high risk, the safety of our students, and a question of how many SFU students attend.
“There are so many other campaigns we have to do, issues that students are facing. I personally would not devote my resources to a one-day concert, because there are too many issues that need to be dealt with.”
The main issue which delayed Weng’s proposal until February was the search for a proper venue.
“The West and East Gym were doing [renovations] at this time,” said Weng. “Convo Mall has horrible acoustics for a sit-down concert, and security costs were way too expensive. [. . .] There were many limitations in SFU Theatre, and it’s hard to throw a musical event in there.
“I would say that’s what stalled the project,” he added.
While the concert proposal for this semester was rejected, that doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen, as Yano believes the proposal was the result of a good idea.
“The SFSS has heard lots of complaints from our members about the genre of the concerts, which are typically EDM-focused,” said Yano. “The concert would appeal to students that wouldn’t necessarily have been involved with previous concerts.”
Despite the failure of his proposal, Weng is still glad he brought it forward, and he sees it as a step towards one day getting a concert of this nature. “It was a big proposal, and a good step forward in creating future events,” he said.