An increase in revenue from Slope Day ticket sales over the past five years has given the Slope Day Planning Board more options in their artist selection process. This year, Walk the Moon and Cash Cash will headline the concert on May 12.
Slope Day Budget Analysis
Over the past five years, funds that the SDPB receives from the Student Assembly have remained relatively consistent. However, ticket revenue has increased by almost $30,000 since 2011, according to a SDPB report obtained by The Sun.
18,250 attendees were recorded at the 2012 Slope Day event, headlined by Taio Cruz, while attendance dipped to 17,700 the following year and has been slightly decreasing since then, according to the report. Even so, the concert of 2013, which featured hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar, generated the highest revenue in ticket sales at $119,562.50.
Over the past five years, total expenses for the event have seen a net increase of more than $60,000 to $386,271.77 in 2015. The least expensive Slope Day was with Kendrick Lamar in 2013.
Attendance at Slope Day headline performances has increased since the founding of the Slope Day Programming Board in 2003, but has dipped slightly since a 2012 peak.
Artist Selection Process
After input from two Executive Board members, Samantha Batt ’16 and Chloe Chan ’16, the Board decided to hold a forum for the general student body, so that students could “voice their opinions regarding artists and to learn about the restric-tions that the Board faces in the selection process,” according to the report.
A 2014 survey the Slope Day Programing Board sent to the general student body received over 9,000 responses, which the group analyzed “to determine which artists will please the most Cornellians,” the report said.
The selection of this year’s Slope Day headliners represents a move toward a more positive and inclusive event, according to Batt and Chan.
“I think that Walk the Moon… [has] a very positive energy,” Chan said. “All of their songs are very upbeat, talk about really healthy, inclusive things and they’re just known to throw really good concerts.”
The planning board also distributes a survey to the Cornell community every fall to gauge the student impressions of past Slope Day performers and to invite suggestions for the coming year.
In 2014 for example, the board received a significant amount of negative feedback following Ludacris’ performance, according to Chan.
“[Ludacris] said a lot of misogynistic things… [and] borderline racist things as well,” Chan said. “What he said wasn’t very inclusive of … the community in general and it wasn’t a very positive energy that he was giving off.”
In response, both the board and the University administration decided to look in a new direction, seeking artists who convey positive messages in their performance as well as in their music.
“People were hesitant to go for a rapper… someone whose lyricscan be construed as inappropriate,” Batt said.
The board also wanted to avoid rap artists, because this could have been the fourth Slope Day with a rapper headlining, she said.
After filtering candidates for cost — no Beyonce — and appropriateness — no Fetty Wap — the planning board decided to book Walk the Moon, according to the board members. The group was one of the most popular write-in responses — suggested over 120 times in the survey — and received overwhelming positive feedback at the board’s general body meetings and at a selections forum they held in the fall, according to Batt.
“[Walk the Moon is] very interactive with the audience, very inclusive with the audience,” Chan said. “Moreover, whereas other artists which had more variable feedback about their concerts, with Walk the Moon, everyone consistently said they had a fabulous time,” Batt said.
Walk the Moon also satisfied a desire to find artists who “talk a little bit less about alcohol and drugs,” Batt said. On a day known at Cornell for rampant drug and alcohol use, the planning board said they hope to create a more inclusive environment and a safer event.
The Planning Board typically books two or three acts, and Cornell students have consistently expressed an interest in bringing in an EDM artist, according to Batt. Cash Cash “is a sound that everyone can get into,” she said. “It’s a very simple EDM.”
“The energy combined is going to be really good for the students,” Chan said of both groups. “I think it will get everybody really hyped.”
New Slope Day Plans
“Slope Day is an event that some students feel excluded from because it’s so heavily centered on drinking,” Chan said.
The broader Slope Day event also includes Slope Fest, a carnival on Ho Plaza, but this year the planning comittee said they want to expand the events they offer.
According to Chan, the board “want[s] to throw a block party before the gates open to the slope,” where local restaurants and food trucks will be set up to create an alternative option to drinking and provide “a less intoxicated environment.”
Slope Day is overseen by both the student-run Slope Day Programming Board and the staff and student-led Logistics and Steering Committes. The logistics committee, which Chan co-chairs, includes Gannett, Cornell Emergency Medical Services, Cornell Dining, Cornell Police, Grounds, Parking and Transportation and “any organization that needs to be involved in this large-scale event of shutting down the slope and parts of campus,” she said.