Guster Booked To Give Concert Next Month

The Undergraduate Council managed a long sought-after victory yesterday, scheduling a November concert on campus by the band Guster.

The Harvard Concert Commission (HCC), a department of the council, announced today that the 2,500-person event will take place on Sunday, November 2 in the Gordon Track and Tennis Center, across the river in Allston.

In a press release, the HCC hailed the event as “the largest concert in recent memory on Harvard’s campus.”

But the competition for that honor was not particularly stiff.

The scheduling of Guster follows a high-profile failed attempt in April 2002 to secure hip-hop giant Outkast for a concert in the Bright Hockey Center. The closest the HCC has come to bringing a big-name band to campus over the past several years was The Verve Pipe’s performance at Springfest 2002.

“It was a very long and arduous process,” Council President Rohit Chopra ’04 said.

HCC Director Robert G. Bonstein ’04 said that band will charge $35,000 for the show, and that additional production costs will be about $8,000.

The concert will be paid for primarily by the council and by ticket charges. Harvard will not subsidize the show.

The much-anticipated Outkast concert fell through after what council members called communication problems with the College administration. The bid required to win the concert also became prohibitively expensive.

Planning for this fall’s show began in May, with Outkast again an initial target.

“Outkast was the holy grail,” Bonstein said, adding that many had hoped to put on a show with a high-profile hip-hop group.

The artist fee for Outkast and similar groups, however, landed in the range of $80,000 to $100,000—an unaffordable sum for the HCC.

With Outkast out of the question, the HCC eventually settled on Guster, while Chopra maneuvered the formidable administrative obstacles.

“We cuddled the red tape and then we made sure that we cut all the way through it,” Chopra said.

He spearheaded the effort to gain approval from all necessary parties over the summer and in the early fall. Chopra spoke to the College dean’s office, to the Office of the General Counsel and to facilities and operations officials.

And by many accounts, the hard work seems to have been worth the effort.