At Columbia, Piano Man's Cheap
Tickets For Joel Event Sold for $10 There, $27.50 at Harvard
While Harvard students forked over $27.50 to hear Billy Joel speak in Sanders Theatre last week, Columbia undergraduates paid just $10 to see the same show two nights earlier.
The New York school's student government subsidized Joel's talk, which drew 750 people, compared to 1200 fans who paid Harvard's higher price.
Harvard concertgoers were not pleased at the discrepancy.
"I was gypped! I should have gone to Columbia," said Dana L. Goldblatt '98, who attended the sold-out Sanders performance. "How much is tuition there, anyway?"
Jill E. Abbinanti, the treasurer of the Union of Students' Organizations at Columbia, said Joel charged "around $30,000" for the show.
The Columbia student government picked up about $22,500 of the tab from its $81,000 yearly budget, she said.
But at Harvard, the event was co-sponsored by the Office of Government, Community and Public Affairs and the Don Lawr Company, a concert promoter.
Kevin A. McCluskey '76, director of community relations at the office, said Harvard's goal was to put the event on at its production cost. Ticket prices were higher here because the event was not subsidized by another organization, like the Undergraduate Council.
In fact, the Harvard show couldn't have been subsidized, because Joel only gave a few weeks' notice before coming, McCluskey said.
"It had to happen very quickly," he said. "The time frame was three weeks between when we started to put it together and when he walked on stage."
He noted that ticket prices last summer for Billy Joel and Elton John at Foxboro started at about $85, making the Harvard event relatively inexpensive.
Sanders Theatre's sell-out meant that a few thousand dollars will go back into a non-profit community group, he said.
But students said they were annoyed by the Harvard event's relatively high price.
"I don't feel I got my money's worth at all," said Jon J. Finer '98. "You can see a lot of concerts for $27."
"Where's our student government?" Goldblatt asked. "Do we have one? No, really, do we?"