Among Ohio State traditions such as the Script Ohio and Mirror Lake Jump, there is one that will surely never die: complaining about the Welcome Back Concert headliner.
The Ohio Union Activities Board announced Detroit-native rapper and singer Quinn XCII as the headliner of the annual Welcome Back Concert, set for Sept. 6, at the Schottenstein Center.
The Twitter post generated mixed reactions. While many students expressed their excitement, others joked about their dissatisfaction.
The show is one of two free concerts organized by the group each year, along with the Big Spring Concert. OUAB’s director of concerts, Karla Haddad, a fourth-year in marketing and political science, said she thinks the fall concert is a great way to show new students what college life is all about.
“Being a student is not just about your schedule and your academics and your involvements,” Haddad said. “It’s also about opportunities to let go and have fun and also meet other people.”
Despite some backlash on social media surrounding the announcement, Haddad is confident in the organization’s choice. She and Abby Hickey, OUAB concert committee member and third-year in strategic communications and English, explained the selection process.
OUAB’s concert committee goes through hundreds of potential choices when selecting artists for its concerts, Haddad said. She said the selection process for this concert started in March, while the spring concert was still in the works.
Factors such as genre, cost, artist availability and student feedback influence the ultimate decision, Hickey said, and the organization is experimenting with ways to give students a larger voice in the selection process.
“We just have to be careful not to be in our little bubble,” Hickey said. “When we’re looking at who we’d like to bring, it’s a lot of making sure we’re taking care of all the students on campus and bringing an event that is going to be beneficial and exciting to everyone.”
Quinn XCII was among the top three artists in a poll OUAB promoted last year on social media, Haddad said.
The artist released his debut album, “The Story of Us,” in 2017. His second album, “From Michigan with Love,” was released in February. Quinn XCII dropped his newest single, “Stacy,” on July 20, according to his Twitter.
While students often request household names such as Drake or Beyoncé for OUAB concerts, Haddad said limited resources and scheduling conflicts often make it easier to book up-and-coming artists.
“You look back at previous concert lineups and you’ll see J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, etc. They were not as big then as they are now,” she said.
After selling out the Bluestone and generating a lot of buzz at Breakaway Music Festival last year, Quinn XCII was a no-brainer, she said.
Hickey said that between his proven track-record of Columbus success, his popularity among students, his penchant for college concerts and his availability, “the stars aligned” when booking Quinn XCII.
Haddad thinks that this year’s Welcome Back Concert will connect students across the university.
“These concerts are meant to bring people together — expose people to new artists — because in the end it’s about the audience and the artist,” she said. “It’s not about us and the work we’re doing. It’s about maximizing the experience for the people that are there and also bringing the artist to stage and putting their talents on stage.”
Digital tickets for Quinn XCII are available online at go.osu.edu/OUABTickets. Currently, one ticket is available per BuckID. Supporting acts will be announced soon.