Staying Alive

Despite funding crisis annual concert still scheduled

by Published: Oct 23, 2013

Headliners We The Kings perform for the Ferris community in Wink Arena during Autumn Alive 2012. This year’s Autumn aLive concert will be held at The Gate, featuring Michigan artist such as Wilson, Kris Hitchcock and Small Town Son, and Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers. Torch File Photo

Headliners We The Kings per­form for the Ferris com­mu­nity in Wink Arena dur­ing Autumn Alive 2012. This year’s Autumn aLive con­cert will be held at The Gate, fea­tur­ing Michigan artist such as Wilson, Kris Hitchcock and Small Town Son, and Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers.
Torch File Photo

The Music Industry Management Association (MIMA) had big plans for this year’s Autumn aLive — until the rug was pulled out from under­neath them ear­lier this semester.

Over the past few months, MIMA had adver­tised this year’s Autumn aLive as a fes­ti­val expe­ri­ence focus­ing on Michigan music. There would be two stages and 4–6 artists from a vari­ety of music gen­res. It was to be some­thing far dif­fer­ent than stu­dents had seen in the past and on a much big­ger scale.

Those grand plans quickly changed.

Due to a sud­den and unex­pected lack of fund­ing, MIMA was forced to use their own money to put on Autumn aLive, which severely lim­ited the organization’s options.

“What hap­pened was this,” senior Amanda Trigger, the book­ing agent for MIMA, said. “The uni­ver­sity took back the money they had allo­cated to us. At that point we were left with money that we had in the pro­gram and money we fundraised. In [the university’s] terms, they felt as though things weren’t being fol­lowed the way they wanted them to be fol­lowed, which resulted in them tak­ing the money back.”

With the uni­ver­sity rescind­ing the money they’d allo­cated to MIMA for Autumn aLive, plans had to be scaled down sig­nif­i­cantly. What had pre­vi­ously been a two-stage fes­ti­val expe­ri­ence will now take place at The Gate, which was ren­o­vated over the sum­mer. It’s a much smaller venue than what MIMA and Ferris stu­dents are used to hav­ing for Autumn aLive.

“Because our fund­ing for [Autumn aLive] was rescinded, we had to put the show on in a dif­fer­ent form than we have pre­vi­ously,” said Dan Cronk, the fac­ulty advi­sor for MIMA and the coor­di­na­tor for the Music Industry Management pro­gram. “It was nec­es­sary to change it from an arena expe­ri­ence to a club expe­ri­ence. Now that we’re rely­ing entirely on our own fund­ing, cost is a major concern.”

Despite the shift in size and scale of this year’s Autumn aLive, the theme has remained the same: Michigan music. The con­cert will fea­ture three bands from within the state of Michigan: Wilson, a rock band from Detroit, Kris Hitchcock and Small Town Son, a con­tem­po­rary coun­try band from var­i­ous places within Michigan and Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, who describe their music as “authen­tic yacht rock.”

“We wanted to cel­e­brate Michigan music this year,” said Trigger. “So we said ‘let’s try to find Michigan artists with dif­fer­ent gen­res of music.’ We want to appeal to the most amount of peo­ple pos­si­ble by hav­ing dif­fer­ent gen­res, but tie it all together by hav­ing them be Michigan-based bands.”

Trigger also says the change from Wink Arena to a smaller set­ting like The Gate might be a

bet­ter choice in regards to the three bands at hand.

“We get to make this a more inti­mate expe­ri­ence,” Trigger said. “I think that will be bet­ter for the artists, too, because they’re not as well-known, so they’re prob­a­bly more used to play­ing on smaller stages as opposed to play­ing in a huge arena setting.”

The Gate, which is host­ing the event for the first time and has only recently come under new man­age­ment, agreed to hold Autumn aLive to bring in a big­ger crowd and get more in touch with the Ferris community.

“They’ve been great to work with, absolutely,” Cronk said. “We always look for those cir­cum­stances where every­body can ben­e­fit, so if after Autumn aLive The Gate wants to col­lab­o­rate again, we’d cer­tainly wel­come it.”

Even with the loss of fund­ing, Cronk and Trigger are very hope­ful for this year’s Autumn aLive. With the smaller set­ting and the wide array of gen­res rep­re­sented, the con­cert still promises to be some­thing very dif­fer­ent than it has been in pre­vi­ous years.

“There is a learn­ing expe­ri­ence to this,” said Cronk. “Things like this hap­pen in the out­side world. Major con­cert tours have been can­celled for the same rea­son. It’s not what hap­pens to you, it’s how you respond to it, and the group has been extremely proac­tive. The stu­dents are being far more cre­ative in how they han­dle this sit­u­a­tion. This has been a good turn of events. Nobody learns any­thing if every­thing goes accord­ing to plan. It’s not a set­back, it’s a new oppor­tu­nity; a breath of fresh air.”

Autumn aLive will be held at The Gate on Nov. 1 at 9 p.m. Tickets can be pur­chased from MIMA mem­bers, in BUS 124 and at The Gate. Tickets bought before the night of the show will come with a raf­fle ticket to win gift cards to var­i­ous Big Rapids businesses.