The independent news organization of Duke University

Admins grant $150K extra for spring shows

Following the success of last April's Cameron Rocks! concert, administrators have kicked in an extra $150,000 loan for this year's festivities, student leaders confirmed Wednesday.

"[The organizers] had a cash-flow problem, so they approached me," said Executive Vice President Tallman Trask, who drew the money from his discretionary fund. "I mean, we need to have more fun around here, right?"

This is the first time Trask has given funding of such magnitude to a student group, he noted.

"Call me crazy," he said. "They have a bunch of good ideas-I might actually go."

In addition, the Duke University Union's executive board has approved an extra $35,000 grant, raising the organization's total commitment to $118,000.

The additional money-which more than doubles the funding available for the event-dramatically increases the the University's chance of attracting a big-name band, organizers said.

"Now that we have $265,000 to work with, I'm positive that Major Attractions will be able to plan the most awesome show ever," said junior Hanna Mahuta, chair of the Union committee that runs the concert in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Mahuta, a Chronicle staff member, said Trask was more than willing to provide a loan as long as it is repaid in its entirety in April.

"We make a lot of revenue from ticket sales but because of the way Major Attractions works, we cannot submit an offer to a band unless we have the full amount they want as an artist fee in our account," she said.

Because of a delay in securing the loan-among others, Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, had to give his approval-artists such as Dave Matthews Band, Maroon 5 and John Mayer have already finalized their spring tour dates, Mahuta said.

"The process took literally the entire semester, and that was much more than I had anticipated," she said.

And some artists remain out of the price range, she added.

Moneta wrote in an e-mail that he was an advocate for the loan.

"I am a great fan of a 'signature' concert (or two) for Duke students," he wrote, adding that he was fortunate enough to see Simon and Garfunkel and Three Dog Night when he was in college.

"I especially enjoyed the Rolling Stones in Wallace Wade... and I attended the Bruce Springsteen concert at UNC a few years ago," he wrote. "These events are just part of the collegiate culture and I hope current and future Duke students get similar opportunities."

With respect to getting more money from the Union, Chief Financial Officer Katelyn Donnelly, a junior, said her organization is at its limit.

"We'll always consider financial proposals but no financial proposal has come across my e-mail," she said. "Our pockets are only so deep."

Wolf said that additional funding from DSG is not a possibility, although he is happy to help the Union and Major Attractions as needed.

"We have more connections with the upper administration than they do," he said. "Ultimately, it's up to them to see if they can land an artist."