To say that Chiddy Bang isn’t very popular at St. Lawrence right now is like suggesting that the Tick Tock should perhaps consider investing in a mop. It’s a gross understatement.
The prevalence of the term “Shitty Bang,” the complaints in the dining halls and dorms, maybe most of all the Facebook group “FUCK Chiddy Bang,” which as of press time had 127 Likes…they all tell a story. The story of a Springfest that disappointed many students due to its headliner’s absence.
Chiddy Bang’s absence was due to several factors, including the group’s tour schedule, according to executives from the Association of Campus Entertainment. “The night before, they were in Utah,” ACE Concert Chair Matt Donato ‘12 said. “They walked offstage at three in the morning.”
Following their performance in Utah, the duo, which consists of rapper Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege and producer Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin, flew to New York City’s JFK airport, arriving late Saturday morning, ACE executives said. Soon after, ACE advisor and Assistant Director of Student Activities Meg Flaherty said, their flight to Syracuse was delayed and they notified ACE around 12:30 p.m. through their agent that they were looking into ground transportation.
Flaherty said that ACE notified Chiddy Bang that they needed a decision on ground transportation by 1:00 p.m., as the driving time between New York City and Canton is at least 6 hours and the group was set to go on stage at 8:00 p.m. “Their road manager was not on the road with them for this show and we think that was part of the issue.”
What followed, according to Flaherty, Donato, and ACE President Meredith Durkee ‘11 (who, full disclosure, is also the editor-at-large for the Hill News), was several hours during which communication broke down between Chiddy Bang and ACE. “Nobody from the band would answer,” Donato said.
At 3:30 p.m., Flaherty said they reached Chiddy Bang’s agent, but the conversation began to discuss legalities and ACE turned it over to its own agent, whom it uses to book musical artists. The worry at this point, according to Flaherty, was that even if Chiddy Bang made it to Canton, the noise permit given to ACE for Leithead Fieldhouse by the Canton town office would end at 10 p.m. and the concert would have to end. “Because it is a field house and not a concert venue, any time we use it as a specific concert venue we need to get it notarized by the city of Canton. It has a very specific beginning and end time,” she said.
Between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., Flaherty said that ACE’s agent continued to try to negotiate with Chiddy Bang’s agent, but that the latter agent stopped answering calls and only replied via text. At 5:13 p.m., Donato said he received a text from ACE’s agent: “Not looking good.” The opening act, mashup artists The White Panda arrived at 5:17 p.m., and ACE said they received word at 6:21 p.m. that Chiddy Bang was not coming.
“We tried to delay the inevitable,” Durkee said. ACE pushed back the start time of The White Panda’s set from 6:30 to 7:15. An additional snag that surfaced was the disappearance of The White Panda’s luggage following their flight from Boston to Syracuse, which meant that they were missing equipment and had only their two signature MacBook laptops for the concert.
ACE executives said that they asked The White Panda if they could play a longer show, or at least come out for an encore, in an effort to extend the concert. The duo said that they could not play past their contracted 60-minute set, but that they would come on for a 2-3 minute encore before ending the show. Donato, who has experience DJ-ing Club Win and Pub 56, offered to take the stage after the group, but Durkee said that The White Panda has a clause in their contract stating that other DJs cannot play at the same venue on the same night as them.
As for Chiddy Bang’s failure to perform, ACE said that under the terms of their contract the group would not have been paid until after they performed. The check, which was for $17,000, has been voided and will go back into SLUSAF contingency funding, under Thelmo’s control. “It’s your money – what would you like to do with it?” Flaherty said.
Donato pointed out that Chiddy Bang has missed concerts in the past – most notably a show put on by popular college website Barstool Sports, which also featured The White Panda – but Flaherty said that ACE had checked the group out beforehand and did not encounter any major criticisms. “Back in January when we were planning bands, I called references to find out information about the bands and their references were good,” she said.
The show that went on without its headliner still went well, Flaherty said. SLU Soul Funk Review and Blaine Holcomb played starting at 4 p.m., and the crowd inside and outside Leithead swelled as The White Panda’s initial 6 p.m. start time loomed. Durkee estimated that the crowd was as large as 400-500 people soon after the show started at 7:15. “Overall, I think it went pretty well. We were able to delay The White Panda show until more people showed up,” Flaherty said.
Director of Safety and Security Pat Gagnon agreed with Flaherty and the ACE executives on the outcome of the show. “I think the concert itself went very well,” he said. “You always have a handful of little problems…the ACE folks and [Flaherty] did an incredible job.”
Gagnon said that the crowd inside Leithead was responsive to security’s requests – in particular when they asked partygoers to stop crowd surfing. The security detail included Gagnon, his assistant director, seven officers, seven criminal justice students from SUNY Canton (police officers in training, essentially), five student safety members, one team of EMTs, and 2 Canton police officers who were separate from the detail but present at Springfest throughout the event.
Outside Leithead, Gagnon said, students were tailgating in the parking lot, and many of them were drinking from glass bottles and throwing them on the ground. Gagnon noted that many students were wearing open-toed shoes, and said he was concerned about the broken glass scattered outside the event. “I think that the crowd really didn’t respect the safety of the people coming to the concert,” he said. Gagnon said he called the Grounds staff on Sunday morning and had them clean up the small shards with a street sweeper, but that ACE members had already cleaned up much of the debris. “They picked it all up afterward,” he said. “ACE should be commended.”
Two students at Springfest were transported to Canton-Potsdam Hospital for alcohol poisoning, and three others were evaluated and released by EMTs. “We do everything we can…we cannot control what students do. We cannot control their alcohol intake,” Durkee said. It was a lower transport rate than the Girl Talk concert in the spring of 2009 which also featured a mash-up artist and at which seven students were sent to the hospital. Flaherty nevertheless pointed out the tendency of students at these large spring concerts to be transported to the hospital. “It feels like the word “Springfest” tends to be a trigger…What do you think ACE could do to help that?”