Making The Kerfuffle

By and

On a typical Thursday night, Amanda Mecham has to turn down her friends who are out having a good time — she’s busy preparing for her latest Presenter’s Office event.

As director of Presenter’s Office, Mecham, a fourth-year education major, manages a budget of more than $300,000 and makes sure the five boards of Presenter’s Office “are pumping out events for students,” she said.

With The Grand Kerfuffle in gear this week, Mecham and other Presenter’s Office members are coming together to pull off what they hope to be the biggest event of the school year.

“We started working on this event in November — trying to decide what bands to bring,” Mecham said.

The annual spring festival will feature six local bands and various vendors, games and activities today from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will culminate Friday with performances from Good Morning Maxfield, Augustana, hellogoodbye and headliner Shiny Toy Guns.

To select the bands, Mecham said Presenter’s Office members refer to feedback received by student interest surveys. However, this is merely the beginning of actually bringing the bands to campus.

Mecham and colleagues send offers to the bands’ agents, proposing a performance date. Once the date is agreed upon, Mecham makes sure there is an available venue that aligns with the time the artist can perform.

“Then you have to figure out if the band is within the budget that you have,” she said.

“Agents always think that universities have money to spend, but we’re trying to be as responsible with student fees as we can,” Mecham said. “We don’t want to just throw the money at them and get ripped off.”

When the artist fee is finally agreed upon, Presenter’s Office members start to devise the contract between the university and the artist.

“It’s quite a process…it sucks a lot of your time out,” Mecham said.

“I feel like I do a week’s amount of work in just one day,” Mecham said, who typically arrives on campus at 7 a.m. and stays until 11 p.m.

“A lot of the time I forget that I haven’t eaten all day,” she said.

Sara Wolf, a sophomore with an undeclared major, stepped into the position of Presenter’s Office festivals chair this semester and is prepared for the long hours required to produce The Grand Kerfuffle.

“I plan on basically staying here all night on Wednesday (to prepare) and staying here until Saturday morning,” she said from the Associated Students of the University of Utah office. “It’s going to be rough.”

Responsible for Thursday’s festival portion of the event, Wolf said she contacted 80 to 90 vendors, and “about 20 are showing up.”

“The most challenging thing is just keeping it all organized,” said Wolf, who speaks to about 30 people on a daily basis for planning purposes. “There are so many people hassling you all the time.”

For today’s events, Wolf said she sees herself “running around screaming at people, setting up tables, telling people where to go, making sure everyone’s happy and that everyone shows up and making sure everything is safe.”

When asked what she is most looking forward to about Thursday’s and Friday’s events, Wolf replied, “Saturday morning.”

Despite The Kerfuffle’s gruelling demands, Wolf plans to do it all again next year.

“It’s worth it,” she said.

Mecham said she feels the same way.

“When you see the students come to an event and they’re all participating in this memory that they’re making — they’re smiling and enjoying their time — you know that they wouldn’t be able to have this awesome memory without you slaving away months at a time,” Mecham said.

For four years, Mecham has sacrificed school and her social life to bring entertainment to students.

“I try to remember what it was like to be a normal student,” she said. “But I really don’t remember anymore.”

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