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Union to host concert in Cameron

Capitalizing on the Athletics Department's recent consent to hosting a major concert in Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Duke University Union has secured a guarantee from the University for a mid-September show, although an exact date and band have yet to be determined.

Outgoing Union president Jesse Panuccio and incoming president Jonathan Bigelow said the programming body has been working on bringing a concert back to Cameron since the last show there in 1996 and expect to land a big name once the Union's budgeting process ends and negotiations with groups begin.

"There is no band that everyone on campus is going to like, but because of the venue, it should be a really great time, no matter who it is," said Panuccio, a senior.

The Athletics Department has allotted several series of three consecutive days--a day for load-in, a day for the concert and a day for load-out--during which the famed basketball stadium will be available. As there are home football games on almost every weekend in September, the concert will likely not fall on a Friday or Saturday night, Panuccio said.

Cameron features space for more than 4,000 ticket-holders--more than triple the 1,200 capacity of Page Auditorium, the next largest indoor venue on campus.

"It's a bigger venue and we can get a lot of people in there," said junior Dylan Ashbrook, chair of the Union's Major Attractions Committee. "The building itself generates more excitement."

Bigelow said athletics officials have been very accommodating in negotiations and that the Division of Student Affairs was also instrumental in securing the stadium. However, he largely credited students who voted in March to increase the Union's fees by $22--meant to help bring in larger acts and make up for the skyrocketing costs of talent and technical fees--as the driving force.

"This is the first benefit that we're reaping from the overwhelming passage of the student activities fee," said Bigelow, a sophomore.

Organizers will try to keep student ticket prices at or below $20, but if they "have the opportunity to bring a really huge act to Cameron, tickets for Duke students may have to cost a little more, as will tickets for everyone else," Ashbrook said.

This is not the first attempt to take advantage of the significant policy change for the Athletics Department, which previously prohibited usage of Cameron because of availability of the stadium, protection for its new floor and overall expense.

In the fall, student leaders from Campus Council, Duke Student Government, the Union and the Graduate and Professional Student Council convinced the University to open Cameron Feb. 7 for "K-ville Kares," a concert that would have benefited the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program.

The organizers had hoped to bring an artist in the $50,000-per-show range, likely ensuring a sell-out and improving their chances of reaching a $50,000 fundraising goal. Offers were made to the Counting Crows and to Dave Matthews, but neither could commit to the set date.

When the plans for the failed show were first announced, Director of Athletics Joe Alleva called the concert an "experiment" to determine if such events could be profitable and if Cameron could be protected. Panuccio said the September concert will have no connection to "K-ville Kares."