Concert Magic

Macklemore entertains Bradley students in Renaissance Coliseum. (Photo by Duane Zehr)

Additional images

Matt Hawkins
February 15, 2016

Bright lights. Pounding bass. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. A giant stage. Three thousand star-struck Bradley students. And, scattered throughout sold-out Renaissance Coliseum, 55 students breathed sighs of relief as the perfect night unfolded.

For members of the Bradley University Tech Crew, Activities Council of Bradley University and Campus Recreation, the successful night capped a long year of planning and work.

“This is why I joined ACBU,” said ACBU President Jackie Myers ‘17, a journalism major from Powell, Ohio. “To get to the show, look around at everyone having a good time and know you helped is an incredible feeling. All our work was worth it.”

The process began in early 2015 when ACBU staff decided to target a top-40 or pop artist. From there, negotiations with a middle agent narrowed the list of potential bands, which were then presented to the Bradley student body to vote for the campus’ preferred option.

Then, the big announcement hit campus in October 2015: Macklemore — students’ top choice according to the vote — would take the stage in February 2016. With one round of contract negotiations complete, student-staff jumped into public relations and marketing tasks, contract rider details, audiovisual plans and arena setup details.

The three student teams excitedly arrived at the Coliseum early the morning of February 4 knowing they wouldn’t leave the building until they transformed from a basketball arena to a concert venue and back for the next night’s basketball game.

“It’s great to see what it takes to make the magic happen,” said BU Tech Crew member Mitchell Pericak ’17, an electrical engineering major from Lockport, Illinois. “There’s a lot more to it than people realize. We get to see what it really takes, and this turned out to be one of the best concerts ever at Bradley.”

As students unloaded four semis of equipment, the tech crew assisted professionals with rigging and props that would later wow the crowd.

Though the crew found a few minutes to soak in their accomplishment, work continued through the concert into the early morning. During the concert, students were busy running spotlights and communications channels, assisting safety staff, monitoring the crowd and running errands for the performers.

After the curtain fell on the Hilltop’s exciting night, concert planners realized they received a unique education with lessons and memories that touched students no matter their academic or career interests. With help of several Bradley staff, the students worked through contract law, marketing, venue management and audiovisual production.

“We had a lot of hands-on experience people can only dream of,” Pericak said. “Being behind the scenes, we gained appreciation for what it takes and we respect all the people who do concerts like this.”

Students also expressed gratitude for the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in an endeavor usually reserved for professionals.

“The freedom to host these concerts shows how much Bradley cares about us,” said Rachel Levine ’16, an industrial engineering major from Kirkwood, Missouri. “If you want to do it, the University will find a way to make it happen.”

ACBU routinely brings top entertainers to the Hilltop. Wiz Khalifa, The Fray and Weezer have played Renaissance Coliseum in recent years.