Concordia Rocks the Quad

Orientation Concert a Hit at Last Minute Loyola Venue

Montreal funk group Chromeo set the stage for award winning hip-hop artist K’Naan. Photo Riley Sparks
Photo Riley Sparks
Photo Riley Sparks
Photo Riley Sparks
Photo Riley Sparks

On Sept. 9, over 2,500 Concordia students took to the Loyola Quad for a night of live music, barbecued meats and cheap beer.

Somali-Canadian hip-hop artist K’Naan capped off the evening’s festivities, which also featured Montreal funk duo Chromeo and Toronto remix group Key’n’Krates.

However, most of the concertgoers were blissfully unaware of how close they came to missing out on the party.

In April, before even taking office, Concordia Student Union VP Student Life Andreas Lopez began planning the event. His troubles went beyond the logistical nightmare of booking three bands, renting stage equipment, arranging for security and ordering truckloads of beer and crates of frozen meat.

“The real trouble was finding [a venue],” said Lopez.

For nearly four months, the CSU hustled to find an appropriate site to host the orientation party. When the CSU applied for a permit to hold the concert on MacKay Street outside the university’s Hall building, Montreal’s Ville Marie borough flatly rejected the idea, citing opposition from its constituents.

CSU executives then combed the city for another locale. They briefly considered renting Uniprix Stadium or the Bell Centre at a cost of $5,000 and $10,000, respectively.

By mid-August, Lopez had booked three bands but still had no place for them to play. Finally, just a few weeks removed from the concert, Concordia’s Associate VP of Facilities Management Peter Bolla suggested the CSU take a look in their own backyard.

After securing the Loyola Quad as a venue, Lopez and his fellow executives still had to plan the $80,000 event to the last detail.

“We were still in game mode come Sept. 9,” said CSU VP External and Projects Adrien Severyns. “But yeah, it was awesome to see it come together.”

Keys’N’Krates played a mash-up of hip-hop and dance music as students began filing in and filling up on beer. By the time Chromeo took the stage, the sun had set and the party was in full swing.

“Concordia!” yelled lead singer David Macklovitch to roaring applause. Chromeo’s electro-funk beats had the crowd jumping and dancing with wild abandon. To the left of the stage, Lopez watched calmly with a smile on his face.

“It was just the best,” he said. “I can’t even describe how happy I was to see everyone finally enjoying the show like they were.”

The show was a stark contrast to last year’s Snoop Dogg fiasco, where the veteran rapper showed up hours late and played a lackluster set in an indoor venue.

“We wanted to get local acts,” said CSU President Heather Lucas. “People who care about putting on a good show, not some diva superstar.”

Loyola Campus’ green fields and gothic architecture provided the crowd with more atmosphere than the concrete buildings and pavement of MacKay Street, where previous orientation concerts had been held.

“It would be nice to get back to the Loyola Quad next year,” said Severyns.

The crowd began thinning out towards the end of K’Naan’s performance, as students packed into shuttle and city buses that took them home or, in some cases, to Reggie’s, where the party really took off.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 05, published September 14, 2010.