By Brandon Buechler
Over the past two years the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) has reconstructed their brand through concerts and special guests. But how the hell is it all paid for?
After Drake and Future’s $515,000 appearance at frosh last year, this year’s RSU kicked off their tenure with another concert on May 1. Now, they’re getting ready to spend $1.5 million on upcoming concerts.
For May’s “6 Cent” concert with Drake and DJ Esco, the RSU spent an estimated $40,000. The 6 Fest pop-up cost approximately $7,000, according to RSU president Obaid Ullah.
The 6 Fest budget of $1.5 million was planned to include the costs of 6 Cent concert, the French Montana pop-up concert, the 6 Fest concert in October and any other potential events throughout the year, according to Ullah.
However, he said students shouldn’t worry about their tuition fees being squandered on costly events.
Money from the levy that students pay the RSU will not be used, according to Ullah.
“Concerts shouldn’t be something that’s taking away from [the RSU’s operating] budget. We’re trying to allocate the funding for these concerts through the 6 Fest budget,” he said.
According to the RSU’s annual budget, the union anticipated to spend $1.5 million on 6 Fest events, while generating that same amount in revenue through $400,000 in sponsorships and $1.1 million in ticket sales.
Ullah said that those numbers are from when the budget was made, well before the beginning of this school year. He said the union has already surpassed its goal of $400,000 in sponsorships. Any extra money, he added, may be used for future events.
Part of that sponsorship money came from student societies. The RSU asked Ted Rogers Students’ Society (TRSS), formerly the Ryerson Commerce Society, to contribute to the budget. Ullah said that the sponsorship deal between the two organizations approached $50,000. TRSS funding comes from contributions from the President’s office, the dean, student levies and corporate sponsorships.
TRSS president Nav Marwah also confirmed the agreement in an emailed statement.
“I can confirm that the Ted Rogers Students’ Society board agreed in principle to support the 6 Fest concert contingent on multiple conditions that the RSU has to fulfill. All these conditions will directly benefit our membership and by extension, the entire student population of Ryerson University,” Marwah wrote.
The conditions of the agreement included 850 tickets and promotion for TRSS, according to Ullah.
Additionally, the Ryerson Engineering Student Society’s (RESS) board of directors spent $5,000 to support the 6 Fest main event, as confirmed by Ullah. RESS was given 75 tickets, but no marketing.
The deals were exclusive to the two societies, said Ullah.
Unlike the RSU’s previous events, 6 Fest, however, is open to the public. Tickets are priced at $41.60 for pre-sale and $66.66 for first-tier tickets. Nine thousand tickets have been sold thus far.
Ullah cites putting on a “bigger and better event” as the reason for the change.
Also, Ullah said it allows for students to bring non-Ryerson guests with them—a criticism the RSU faced with its limited guest tickets for the 6 Cent concert. It’s expected that 15,000 people will attend the two-day event.
Prices for second and third-tier tickets have not yet been released, nor has the event’s slate of performers been confirmed. But the union recently pushed the concert back to Oct. 9 and 10 to find a more convenient date for potential artists.