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Back in the black, MAB sells out Summer Breeze

The Major Activities Board, which plans Summer Breeze and other major cultural events, has recovered from its deficit from last year.

Photo: Lina Li/The Chicago Maroon
Bouncing back from an under-attended winter comedy show and a deficit incurred from last spring, the Major Activities Board (MAB) sold out for Summer Breeze this weekend, with hundreds more students springing for costlier tickets this year in order to hear a star-studded line-up.

MAB sold all of its 2,250 tickets, which rose in price by five dollars apiece this year, in order to pay for bringing rapper Ludacris to the stage.

The board wasn’t able to sell nearly as many tickets last year, when rain forced the show into 1,000-person Mandel Hall. Sales were halted, even though the show was on track to sell out, and between 400 and 500 ticket-holders had to be reimbursed. MAB estimates that it lost $15,000, and was left with a deficit.

MAB has been able to stay within the $199,000 budget granted to it by SG’s Program Coordinating Council (PCC), even though ticket sales for Summer Breeze were not enough to cover $135,000 of the costs.

Because of the deficit from last year, MAB opted for a relatively inexpensive act for their fall quarter show with pop duo Matt & Kim, paying $39,000 for the musicians’ fees and other expenses. It also paid $20,000 to put on the winter show with stand-up comic Reggie Watts, for which only 400 students bought tickets, out of a possible 1,000.

“The plan going forward for this year was to have a smaller fall show and a smaller winter show, and to keep as much money as possible for Summer Breeze so that we could bring in big names like Ludacris,” said fourth-year Sam Abbott, who is MAB’s chair.

MAB would not disclose each artist’s fee for Summer Breeze, since musicians do not want published figures to skew future negotiations.

“Summer Breeze is our flagship event. That’s where the majority of our funds go, and that trend will continue,” said third-year Lyndsey McKenna, who will succeed Abbott as chair next year. “We will continue trying to appeal to a large cross-section of the student body.”

Still, Abbott said that MAB would consider spending more on the winter or fall shows, should an opportunity arise.

“If someone pops up for a fall show or winter that we really like, we’d put the money out front,” he said.

Abbott expects a similar amount of funding next year from PCC, which divides roughly $500,000 among MAB, WHPK, Doc Films, University Theater, Fire Escape Films, and the Council on University Programming.

—Additional reporting by Rebecca Guterman

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