Students gathered at Schneider Tennis Courts on Oct. 14 to enjoy the annual SBOG fall concert, where musicians Kuhlname and Luna Li provided a much needed respite amid midterm season. The chilly fall day was enlivened by enthusiastic performers and audience members alike, creating an atmospheric ambience.
As SBOG Publicity Chair Em Kramer ’23 puts it, “We do this for the community. Every single person who comes to one of our events and enjoys themselves is adding to that sense of community.”
Planning for the event began in May, with members of SBOG brainstorming a spreadsheet full of potential performers. Director of On Campus Affairs Kaya Crosby ’24 elaborated on the process.
“Concerts committee will come up with the vibe, the genre. For the fall, we usually try to go for something that’s a little bit like lower energy, mellow, because it’s midterms, people are stressed,” Crosby said.
With the limited budget, Crosby explained the way that SBOG worked around not being able to attain more mainstream artists.
“Our budget for artists in the fall semester is usually around $10,000. Which is almost nothing when you’re booking artists. So what we look for is who is up and coming? Who has had a song go viral on TikTok? Who do a lot of Wellesley people on Instagram follow that has a similar vibe or has opened for a really big band who might become popular in the future?” Crosby said.
Having diverse representation within SBOG is a priority, especially when planning events.
“SBOG is composed of people who come from all over Wellesley. That’s something that we put a lot of effort into when we do our applications, so that we can include as many student perspectives as possible,” Crosby said.
In addition to choosing and voting on which artist to invite, SBOG members were also involved in the financial negotiations.
“The students are totally the ones who are engaging in the back and forth. The production company is really helpful in having those conversations [with the artist] dealing with the contracts, but we’re the ones who are making financial decisions, which is cool,” said Crosby.
The publicity committee also coordinated with the artists to produce posters and advertisements that reflected the performer’s artistic vision while being effective at appealing to and piquing student interest.
“We went through multiple different iterations of what we wanted the spam to look like. First we were going for a grunge aesthetic, but after we did more research, we went for more of a crossover between jazz and grunge and Luna Li’s Ethereal Moon Fairy vibe,” Kramer said.
Kuhlname, aka Sydney Ewing, a student at Berklee College of Music, started off the concert, playing originals like “I Can See It” as well as covers like SZA’s “Broken Clocks.” Audience members especially enjoyed Kuhlname’s high energy and frequent crowd interactions. Ewing recounted a highlight.
“Because it was daytime, I could still see everybody. So I was able to actually speak to them. I asked if anyone had ever been in love and there was this one couple that just turned to each other and smooched. It was so cute. ”
Ewing further commented on the band’s experience at Wellesley, saying “Everyone was so nice and welcoming. I would love to come back just to walk around because it’s so hard to find a tree out here.”
The concert then shifted to a more ethereal-whimsical aura with Luna Li’s performance. She played a solo show, building components of her songs live on stage with an assortment of instruments.
“I really enjoyed how Luna Li layered her instruments to create complex melodies with just one person on stage,” said Mae Halperin ’27.
SBOG Treasurer Frances Kayser ’25 agreed, saying, “The main artist was so lovely, her violin accompaniment was really cool to hear and suited the lovely fall day.”
The fall concert had taken place in Tishman Common in previous years, but the venue was moved to Schneider Tennis Courts after the success of the outdoor LDOC Concert featuring MUNA. Student turnout exceeded expectations as the fall concert is usually less attended, and according to Kayser, there were “over double the amount of people we had last year, which is really awesome to see.” On the other hand, SBOG Concerts Chair Sabrina Feldman ’25 expressed hope for a larger audience.
“I always would love to see a larger crowd at these concerts considering how much work is put into it,” Feldman said.
Crosby agreed, and cited increasing exposure and attendance as one of SBOG’s main goals for other events.
“I think my goal for the spring concert is just to make sure that every single person hears about it … I know that a lot of people struggle with the fact that our bigger events are no reentry, but those are precautions that we take from a harm reduction standpoint,” Crosby said.
Crosby also expressed SBOG’s willingness to engage with student body feedback.
“If people have suggestions, there’s an anonymous feedback form at the bottom of every single email that I send and linked to our Instagram. Literally any suggestion is something that we would take.”
Additionally, Kayser shared other goals SBOG has for future projects.
“We have heard the student body talk about wanting some more diversity in the kinds of artists that we bring. And so I think our goal for the spring is to bring a talent that maybe is different from the ones we’ve brought in the previous few semesters; maybe a different energy or demographic.”
Lastly, Feldman reflected on some upcoming SBOG events.
“With all of our SBOG events, we try to make it fun for everyone. There’s gonna be SBOG events for every type of Wellesley student, both large scale and small scale. We’ll be having a spooky SBOG later this month and Drag Bingo in November, so you can keep an eye out for that.”