Rock the Dome 2016

University Union brings back Rock the Dome with The 1975, Oh Wonder

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Rock the Dome is coming to the Carrier Dome on Friday, featuring artists the 1975, Oh Wonder and 070 Shake.

When University Union decided to bring back the Rock the Dome concert this year, they knew they wanted to put the emphasis on “rock.”

“We feel like sometimes genres like rock, alternative, indie don’t get as much programming as they deserve,” said Grant Nygaard, UU’s public relations director.

Indie pop rock band The 1975 will headline Rock the Dome at Syracuse University in the Carrier Dome this Friday, Nov. 4. They will be supported by alternative pop duo Oh Wonder, and rapper 070 Shake will open the show, according to a UU press release.

The only other time UU has put on a Rock the Dome concert was when Ludacris and Rick Ross took the Dome stage in February of 2012. For logistical reasons, UU hasn’t put on a Rock the Dome concert since.

“We’ve just had programing focuses on Juice Jam and Block Party and the Bandersnatch shows,” said Erin Singleton, UU’s co-director of concerts. “So because of budgeting and scheduling reasons, we just haven’t been able to bring it back, but this year we want to change that.”

Choosing headlining acts for SU concerts is not an easy process for UU members, and Singleton said planning for Rock the Dome began last May.

For each concert, UU sends out a survey to several thousand students on campus, conducts focus groups and monitors social media to get an idea of what kind of shows students want to see, Singleton said.

“We try to program for the masses and whatever’s going to be the most popular for the most people,” Nygaard added.

They make a list of every act that would be well-received by students, and from there launch into the process of reaching out to artists to see who is available and affordable.

Singleton said that although in the surveys, rap, hip-hop and EDM pull better than genres like rock, UU still wants to accommodate the many students who are fans of other types of music.

“The EDM and rap fans don’t represent the entire school so we want to make sure that we are giving programming to as many students as possible,” Singleton said.

SU hasn’t had a major headlining rock act in a long time besides for Bandersnatch Concert Series shows, she said.

Nygaard said The 1975 is an intersection of different genres of music, so people with different tastes will likely be excited about the headliner. Since they’re also on the radio, people who listen to popular top 40 music also might recognize some of their songs, Singeleton added.

Alyssa Sullivan, a sophomore television, radio and film major, has been a fan of The 1975 for several years, and said she was surprised when she heard that UU was bringing the band to SU since other headliners she’s seen have been oriented toward other genres.

“I’m much more excited to see this UU show than any other past show they have had because the bands are some that I listen to all the time and who I’ve wanted to see perform for a while now,” she said.

Sullivan thinks UU should consider booking more bands from this genre as headliners, explaining that variety is important, especially when it comes to music.

UU knew bringing in a band like The 1975, who are so well-known around the world, would be a great opportunity and way to reach out to many different types of people on campus, Nygaard said.

“We were very happy to see that — for the most part — reactions were overwhelmingly positive,” Singleton said.

She also pointed out that public reaction was encouraging, since Syracuse is the only performance in New York The 1975 has on their North American tour. Fans from all over will be coming to the concert, she said.

Having Oh Wonder as the direct support act is also an advantage, Nygaard said, because this will be the only stop on The 1975’s tour where Oh Wonder will be joining them. He said UU wanted to have another rock act on the bill, which is why they decided to add Oh Wonder.

“Usually people have their eyes go straight toward the headliner, and they might disregard what’s underneath, but we were really happy to see that people were equally excited for both,” Nygaard said.

Although they take shows on a “semester-by-semester basis,” Singleton said, if this year’s Rock the Dome is successful, UU will consider putting on the event again.

“I think people are happy that we’re bringing a different kind of act on campus,” Singleton said. “ … I think people are going to be happy that it’s kind of a new type of thing and — if it works out really well — we can consider doing it again in the future and having a bigger rock presence on campus.”

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