Picking an artist for a campus concert may be one of the trickiest decisions for students and staff to make.
There are concerns of collegiate taste, which is both eclectic and capricious and also staying within a budget and fitting the artist’s schedule with that of the university’s.
The University Program Council at the University of North Alabama, however, seems to have found a sweet spot bringing in Grammy-nominated J. Cole to Florence for their spring concert.
“What really excites me is that the students are excited, because it’s their money,” said Will Riley, vice president of UPC responsible for bringing in J. Cole.
“I hate it whenever we program events and no one shows up because they pay for it with their student activity fee.”
The concert is free for students and tickets for the general public are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. It begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Flowers Hall on campus.
Riley said they have already distributed more than 630 tickets to students and sold more than 50 tickets to the general public, which he said was among the highest, if not the highest, amount of tickets given out for UNA’s spring concert.
“I think everyone has been like ‘man we’re really getting J. Cole?’ ” Riley said. “I’ve heard more surprise than disgust. It’s always a touchy subject because you can’t please everyone.”
J. Cole was nominated for a Grammy in 2011 for Best New Artist. He was beat out by Bon Iver, but other nominees that year included Nicki Minaj and Skrillex.
His 2011 album, “Cole World: The Sideline Story” debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and sold more than 200,000 albums during its first week of sales.
J. Cole was the first artist signed to Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation and J. Cole’s second studio album is scheduled for release later this year.
“It is a pretty big get,” said Cheryl Mathis, coordinator of programming in the Office of Student Engagement at UNA.
“To have a Grammy-nominated artist at UNA is pretty huge. That’s one thing that a lot of the students are excited about, is to have someone of this caliber that’s bringing such a huge tour.”
The concert is apart of Reverb’s Campus Consciousness Tour that has visited the campuses of the University of Illinois, University of Kentucky, West Virginia University and Ohio State University.
“The great thing about this concert is it’s not just the concert,” Mathis said. “The whole tour is sponsored by Campus Consciousness, which is a part of Reverb. With them it’s a whole environmental campaign to recycle and use clean water and to celebrate being environmentally friendly.”
Mathis added that Reverb will sponsor events on campus lasting from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. She also said the artists have requested all their forks, spoons and plates be used from recycled material and there be recycling bins in their dressing room and backstage.
“Everything that they do — from backstage to the day of, to even on stage — is all conscious of the environment,” Mathis said.
Bobby Bozeman can be reached at 256-740-5722 or bobby.bozeman@TimesDaily.com