Juice Jam 2017

You know Juice Jam, but do you know what happens behind the scenes?

Courtesy of University Union

University Union works on organizing Juice Jam five months before it's even held. The group is responsible for choosing the artists who perform based on feedback from Syracuse University students.

UPDATED: Sept. 7, 2017 at 12:17 a.m.

Five months of work for a one-day event.

Thousands of students will attend Juice Jam on Sunday — the final payoff for the University Union team. This year’s festival will feature popular DJ and electronic music producer Diplo as the headliner. Other performers include rapper Ugly God, Danish singer-songwriter MØ, pop band Smallpools and hip-hop producer Jeremy Zucker.

Doors will open at noon at North Skytop Field on South Campus, where main and indie stages will be set up. In addition to concert performances, there will be activities including an expanded silent disco, inflatables and food vendors.

“There’s a lot to do and it’s an awesome day full of fun activities,” said Samantha Sarno, the vice president of University Union and a senior recording and allied entertainment industries major.

University Union, a student-run organization that serves at the official programming board of Syracuse University, organizes Juice Jam every year. About 10,000 people attend throughout the day, and the event has been running for more than a decade, said Jonah Rappaport, the president of UU and a senior in the Bandier Program.

“I think it definitely differentiates Syracuse from other campuses, and it’s almost become a brand on this campus — everyone knows what Juice Jam is and it’s something that I know during the summer the first thing they think of when they think about move-in day,” said Catherine Fitzpatrick, a co-concert director and a senior management major.

Both Fitzpatrick and Sarno joined UU as general members when they were freshmen.

Planning for the event starts as early as April of the previous semester. This year it began in May. UU first sends out a survey to one-third of the student body across different demographics — such as age and gender — with a list of first, second and third-tier acts for students to choose from. On average, UU books five to six acts.

“We like to bring up-and-coming acts and highlight the best that music has to offer,” Rappaport said.

This list comes from research about the most popular artists at the time. The research team at UU scans music blogs and Billboard’s Top 100 charts to bring acts that appeal to students.

“It’s a lot of deliberating and it’s very hard because half the time, the acts you want are going to be in Berlin or LA doing a totally different festival that day,” Fitzpatrick said.

University Union’s student members work directly with agents from different agencies, who have college representatives they’ve formed relationships with. This also eliminates the extra service fee.

“I’m on the phone with agents almost daily,” Fitzpatrick said. “So it’s a nice learning experience for us, and it’s nice to know that we can negotiate with them and get a good quote on an artist versus using a middle buyer.”

After prospective artists are selected, UU creates a budget proposal to present to Student Association’s Finance Board. The proposal includes artist costs, security costs, production building costs of stages, student attendance rates and activity costs. SA then decides how much money to allot to each organization and distributes it accordingly. The money comes from the $200 student fee that is built into tuition every year.

“I think it’s mainly important because it’s one of Syracuse’s strongest traditions,” Rappaport said. “It’s something everyone can look forward to and whether or not you’re a big music fan it’s a day where people are brought together.”

In addition to Juice Jam, UU puts on a number of other events throughout the school year, including Bandersnatch, a smaller music series in the fall and spring in Goldstein Auditorium; Mayfest and Block Party; comedy shows; lecture series; and cinema screenings.

Two shuttles will run continuously throughout the day to Skytop Field from College Place and Schine Student Center. Tickets are $20 for SU and State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry students with a valid college ID. A maximum of two tickets can be issued per ID. Tickets can be purchased at the Carrier Dome Gate E ticket booth.

“No other college has an event that’s so strong, so rich in tradition. It’s really a day you don’t want to miss out,” Rappaport said.

The story has been updated for appropriate style.


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