Despite more Lupe Fiasco rumors, no official confirmation for A&O Fall Blowout

Ava Wallace

Despite persistent rumors that rapper Lupe Fiasco will headline A&O Productions’s annual Fall Blowout next month, Northwestern students still have yet to receive University confirmation of the Chicago-born artist’s visit.

Rumors about Fiasco’s visit began in early September when the rapper listed an Evanston concert on his website’s tour schedule. After the Daily published news of the post, A&O declined to confirm the concert, and the date was removed from Fiasco’s site.

On Friday, Danielle Nash, the director of marketing and promotions for Two Much Entertainment and rapper Young Marqus, Fiasco’s opening act on his “Generation Laser Tour,” confirmed in an email to the Daily that both artists will perform on campus Nov. 4. However, A&O chairman Chase Jackson declined to comment on which artist will perform at the fall event.

A&O’s Director of Concerts Allison Zuzelo attributes the student organization’s reluctance to comment on the fall concert’s artists to the complex process that A&O goes through to confirm a performer before an official statement is made.

“The fact that it’s taking a long time doesn’t mean that there’s a problem – it’s just the nature of the process,” Zuzelo said.

Zuzelo explained the contract between the University and the performer, among other things, also influences the organization’s decision on when to confirm artists.

“Ultimately, there are a lot of different factors that come into play when deciding when to announce a show,” Zuzelo wrote in an email. “Sometimes there are issues with our end, sometimes there are issues with the artist’s end, sometimes it benefits us to wait, and sometimes it’s a combination of all three.”

She added A&O considered this year’s later concert date in respect to student excitement when deciding a release date of the names of the artists.

“It’s just a later show – we’re not going to announce a show two months before it happens,” she said. “We want that hype to build; we want people to be as excited on the day that we make the announcement as they are on the day of the show.”

Medill graduate student Kathryn Ferrara (BSJ ‘11) said prolonging the official confirmation does not help build excitement for shows.

“I think it’s more frustrating than anything,” she said. “In general, I get frustrated when there are hang-ups like this with the administration.”

Last year, University President Morton Schapiro officially announced the 2010 Fall Blowout performers, artists Kid Cudi and Snoop Dogg, in his freshman convocation speech during Wildcat Welcome Week.

Jackson, however, said this year’s concert is simply a different situation.

“Just because things happened a certain way last year doesn’t mean that it’s going to work out the same way,” Jackson said. “We don’t want to announce anything until we’re ready – until it’s polished.”

Safiya Merchant contributed reporting to this story.

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