AMS Block Party: A Primer

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This year, the AMS has succeeded in finding a permanent, sustainable home for AMS Block Party after considerable lobbying of the UBC administration. For the first time ever, AMS Block Party will be hosted at Thunderbird Stadium with more than double the amount of attendees and three internationally acclaimed headliners performing for the better part of the Last Day of Classes. We’ve changed a lot since last year, so some UBC students are understandably unclear about prices, performers, and how the ticket sales are working. We thought we’d better put out some clarifying information to get everyone on the same page and clear up the questions that are popping up.

Tickets

Block Party is a much bigger event this year, and therefore the tickets are naturally (some say criminally) more expensive. Below is a comparison between prices (non-inclusive of fees) for this year, AMS Block Party 2015, and UBCSUOs Recess 2016 event.

Early Bird Late Bird General Admission Final Tier
Block Party 2016 $20 $25 $30 $48
Block Party 2015 $15 N/A $22 $30
UBCSUO Recess 2016 $25 $35 $40 $45

 

This equates to an average increase of 30% on ticket prices from last year, without considering the fact that we have 500 additional low-cost tickets in the late bird tier. Even with the increase in price, our event is 25% less expensive on average than UBCSUOs event. It’s also important to consider the cost of seeing these artists elsewhere. When Vince Staples played a sold out show at the Vogue in March, GA tickets were $22.50 plus Ticketmaster’s absurd service fees. Oh Wonder’s sold out Commodore show this May costs $25.00 plus fees, while Lido’s show in October 2015 was $18.00. Considering all this, to see these artists separately you would be looking at well over $70.00 for tickets, more than double the Block Party GA price.

Why did the AMS have to increase prices this year? For one, the CAD to USD exchange rate is a painful 0.76 and artists of the calibre we are targeting all do business in USD. However for a better understanding let’s explore the changes to the event this year.

Event

In 2015, AMS Block Party was hosted on an awkward parking lot with a very modest stage and production setup. Due to space constraints, we were only able to sell 4,750 tickets leading to astronomical scalping and not nearly enough supply to meet student demand. This year, after fighting for access to Thunderbird Stadium, the AMS is going to be able to host almost 1 in 5 UBC students at AMS Block Party for 7 full hours of music. For 10,000 people, we have significantly increased costs including protecting the artificial turf of the football field; increasing security, staff, and beer vendors; increased infrastructure (read: portable bathrooms); and a massive increase in staging and production costs. Factoring in inflation, and not wanting to bankrupt the society on a single event, we have had to modestly increase prices.
For comparison sake, and with no disrespect to our colleagues there, UBCSUO Recess is open to approximately 3,000 students and lasts 4 hours and 45 minutes.

Budget

The last concern is an understandable one, as many students are unaware that the AMS is a registered non-profit society. As much as I would love to crash a Ferrari into a money bathtub with all of the AMS Block Party profits, the reality doesn’t exactly add up to that. A summary of the budget for AMS Block Party 2016 is as follows:

Total Expenses: $438,435

  • Talent Expense: $157,400
  • Production: $128,750

Total Revenue: $387,286

  • Ticket Sales: $304,286
  • Liquor Sales: $68,000

THE BOTTOM LINE: The AMS is subsidizing your AMS Block Party by $51,149 this year in an attempt to keep prices as affordable as possible while throwing definitely the biggest Last Day of Classes celebration in Canada, and maybe even North America. Sure, we could always outsource our event to an external company and relinquish control on talent, branding, atmosphere, and prices, but we believe that students deserve a celebration at the end of the year that doesn’t seek to make a profit off their experience – a far cry from criminal in my eyes.

Beers,

Aaron Bailey, 106th AMS President

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