GVSU spring concert returns with All Time Low

GVL / Courtesy - alexandrapalace.com

GVL / Courtesy - alexandrapalace.com

Jenny Adkins

After being canceled last year due to a contractual issue with the band, Grand Valley State University’s annual spring concert is returning and will feature All Time Low as its headliner. The concert is Thursday, April 5, with doors opening at 7 p.m. at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena. 

The spring concert is put on by Spotlight Productions with the goal of bringing a professional concert to students on campus, said Alyssa Jones, Spotlight Productions president. After the fallout from last year, Jones said, the planning for the concert is going much more smoothly this year. 

“There is so much that comes with planning concerts that’s out of your hands,” Jones said. “(But) this year has been a really smooth process. We’re ready for this event. Our team is ready, our security is ready, the Fieldhouse is ready, so this is going to be a pretty good show.”

Jones said the planning for the concert is a year-long process that starts with a survey to gauge student interest in different genres of music. Spotlight Productions marketing team member Greg Ziegenfelder said that after the survey was sent out to help select All Time Low as the band, the social-media response to the announcement of the band playing the concert was exciting.

“We had a little bit of bad press (from last year), so announcing that we were working on the show again and were bringing in someone that people really wanted to see and getting a huge response (on social media) was great,” Ziegenfelder said.

A key part of choosing All Time Low—in addition to the survey results indicating a preference for pop, punk and alternative—was the band’s historic name recognition for many GVSU students, Jones said.

“They’re a name people (have heard of),” Jones said. “You probably listened to them in middle school or high school. It’s a name you’re going to recognize, or you at least know a couple of songs like ‘Dear Maria’ or ‘Count Me In.’”

Another reason for selecting All Time Low to headline the event was the release of the band’s new album, “Last Young Renegade,” in 2017. After seeing their recent performance, Jones said the combination of their live presence and revived popularity has her excited for GVSU’s show. 

“All Time Low has been super great to work with,” Jones said. “I can say I am personally super pumped for this show. I just went to their show at Michigan State University, and it was absolutely fantastic, so I’m expecting bigger and better (for GVSU).”

Once the band has been decided, preparation goes into converting the Fieldhouse Arena into a concert venue. Jones said the 3,500-person-capacity arena becomes a “full-on concert production,” complete with lighting technicians and a full stage. 

“It is general admission, so a lot of it is that (close) floor feeling, which is super exciting,” Jones said. “There is lot of energy there. A lot of people get really hyped up. It’s definitely an experience at Grand Valley.”

Jones said the show is dedicated to the students who attend. While the band each year may not be for everyone—which is why Spotlight Productions changes genres each year—she said that so long as those who are interested in this year’s performance are happy, the show is a success.

“Whether the show is sold out or not, it’s all about the students that do go,” Jones said. “(It’s about) knowing that they had a good time and we brought a really good event on campus for them, especially for students who may not have vehicles and can’t leave campus as easily to go to concerts downtown.”

Overall, Ziegenfelder said the event belongs to the student body. Through both following the interests of the students and the locality of the event, Spotlight Production’s goal is to make a memory, Jones said.

“(I’d be happy if) the students really enjoyed the show, if everyone had a good time and relived some stress. We don’t put on the show for ourselves,” Ziegenfelder said.