Dylan’s Nov. 21 visit became official at the end of last week, when the Harvard Concert Commission (HCC) received a signed contract from him in the mail.
Rumors about a possible performance began two weeks ago, when a number of credible fan websites, including www.bobdylan.com, posted updated information on Dylan’s latest tour that included Harvard as his final stop.
Anticipating crowds and hoping to increase revenues, the members of the HCC persuaded the College administration to allow an unprecedented number of students—4,000—into the concert, which will take place at the Gordon Indoor Track and Tennis Center.
“We are excited to bring a great act to Harvard in what will be a monumental concert by a rock legend who is admired by so many students,” said HCC Director Justin Haan ’05.
The upcoming Dylan concert comes at the heels of a watershed year in 2003-2004 when the HCC sponsored two major concerts, featuring Busta Rhymes during Springfest and Guster in November.
“We are just happy to continue this trend towards bigger name concerts for more people,” Haan added.
The HCC will sell tickets under a tiered system that will favor undergraduates. Tickets will go on sale online and at the Harvard Box Office for students in the College on Oct. 26 for $25. Other Harvard affiliates will be able to purchase tickets starting Oct. 28 for $40. Any tickets remaining on Oct. 29 will go on sale for $35. And the tickets allotted for the general public, which went for $50 on Dylan’s website, are already sold out.
The concert would not have been feasible without the Undergraduate Council (UC) termbill hike and successful negotiations with the Dean’s office.
“We gave the Concert Commission $30,000 to bring Dylan and we’ll make that back with revenue, ticket sales, and corporate sponsorship,” said UC President Matthew W. Mahan ’05. “But there’s no way we would have been able to allocate so much more money than in the past without the termbill increase.”
And Haan said that despite Dylan’s fame, the HCC used careful negotiation to snag him for a Harvard performance at a reasonable price.
“We worked with him on a variety of things, he was going to be in the Boston area and we approached him about doing Harvard as his last tour show,” Haan said.
Haan added that the Harvard name and college setting was an additional perk for Dylan and his band.
“The fact that it’s an intimate student setting makes it an unique experience for [Dylan and his band] and they caught on to that as well.”
Dylan first debut was in 1963 with the album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. He cemented his status as an icon with the 1965 and 1966 release of Highway 61 Revisted and Blonde on Blonde.
“He is just an exquisite performer,” said Professor Richard F. Thomas, who is currently teaching a freshman seminar on Dylan. “Let’s hope he’ll pick up the guitar for a song or two.”