In the wake of Saturday’s financially disastrous Fountains of Wayne concert, the Georgetown Programming Board is struggling to swallow its losses and work within a newly tightened budget.
According GPB’s faculty advisor Bill McCoy, last weekend’s concert cost almost $50,000. The stage and sound setup costs alone, he said, amounted to $10,000.
Although final ticket counts were not available as of Wednesday, McCoy estimated that only around 370 tickets were sold out of the anticipated 1600 that GPB had anticipated. He said the costs were a severe drain on the group’s budget for this year.
“The expectation was it’d be larger than it was,” McCoy said.
“You could tell it was an empty concert,” said Rebecca Mond (COL ‘07), who attended the event.
She added that the audience seemed to be composed mainly of freshmen and non-students.
Still, GPB chairman Ketan Bhalla (SFS ‘07) was not worried about the organization’s future.
“This doesn’t mean we’re going to stop,” he said in a Wednesday meeting. He assured the membership that major GPB events like the Mr. Georgetown pageant and the Halloween viewing of The Exorcist would be unaffected by the smaller budget.
Other GPB members were less enthusiastic.
“It’s a challenge,” admitted GPB public relations chairman Mo Narang (COL ‘08). He said the board would have to be more “cost effective” in its events.
He also hoped that some events later in the year, especially the pageant, would bring in more money than they have before.
Narang also expected the financial loss from the concert to force the GPB to try new, cheaper ideas. “Every cloud has a silver lining,” he said.
Except for the finances, the concert went smoothly, Bhalla said. GPB members showed up at 8:30 Saturday morning and worked until 2:00 Sunday morning, according to Narang.
Fountains of Wayne frontman Chris Collingwood made sure the night wasn’t without incident, however. He was so intoxicated during the set that the band’s manager asked for a pail onstage in case Collingwood wanted to throw up, according GPB concert chairman Twaji Ewool (COL ‘08).
Some students, like Rodrigo Salgado (COL ‘10), enjoyed the concert, despite the small crowd.
“As soon as I heard [Fountains of Wayne’s] ‘Sink to the Bottom’ I went crazy,” he said, but he didn’t think the concert was worth close to $50,000, he added.