T.I. to perform at UNA Spring Concert; Kehlani and Audio Push to open show

Officials announced rapper T.I. is “what’s up, what’s happening” for the 2015 Spring Concert. The event is set for April 24 at 7 p.m. in Flowers Hall.

by Editor-in-Chief Anna Grace Usery

T.I. is “what’s up, what’s happening” at the 2015 Spring Concert.

Officials confirmed the rapper is coming to town, with artists Kehlani and Audio Push as the opening acts.

The spring concert, a much talked about event for UNA students and the general public, is set for April 24 at 7 p.m. in Flowers Hall.

Rumors erupted when T.I. announced via Facebook Dec. 17 he would perform at UNA.

Director of Student Engagement Tyler Thompson said he still does not have the signed contract in his hand, but that the university’s agent said the concert is a go. UPC sent the contract well before Christmas break, Thompson said.

“Our agent said the contract should be in (within) two weeks,” he said. “But she said it was fine to advertise the concert and put the tickets out.”

Thompson said he will not release tickets to the public until he has the contract. UPC spent $90,000 to book T.I. and $10,000 for artists Kehlani and Audio Push, collectively. Thompson said he estimates the cost of the entire production will be $115,000, budgeting $15,000 for all sound and stage equipment.

“I think it’s really cool we are able to get (T.I.),” said sophomore Ashley Blackmon.

Live Acts Committee Chairwoman Rebecca Logsdon said the decision to bring T.I. was made based on the rap genre selling the most tickets in the past. Because the concert is in Flowers Hall instead of Norton Auditorium, a bigger crowd is needed, she said.

“If a comparable artist in previous years did not do well in Norton, that would mean it really wouldn’t do well in a venue three times the size of Norton,” Logsdon said. “I feel like T.I. was a great choice for UNA, even if we did have Ludacris last year. This is a transition year. If students want to have the concert in Flowers in years to come, then this concert has to be a success, which I am confident it will be.”

The hype surrounding T.I.’s appearance has made him a topic of conversation for the last few months — specifically among students. Reactions thus far have been mixed.

“I wish we would have been able to vote on who we wanted for the spring concert,” said junior Rachel Cole. “I have no interest in T.I., so I probably won’t be going,”

Junior Alaina Rushing agreed.

“I was hoping for something in a totally different genre since we had Luda last year,”she said. . UNA has a diverse population with diverse tastes.”

The last three spring concerts featured two rap artists — J.Cole in 2012 and Ludacris in 2014. Phillip Phillips, a rock and pop artist, performed in 2013.

“It’s impossible to please 100 percent of students and the community, but we strive to bring the best live acts to our university,” Logsdon said.

Cole said she constantly hears about the musical reputation of The Shoals but does not see it celebrated at the university.

“I think it’s a shame that we can’t take that once-great reputation and turn it into a characteristic of today’s Shoals,” she said.