K’naan coming to Concordia

Award winning hip-hop artist to perform at student union’s orientation

Loyola Campus will host this year’s orientation. Photo Nanio

The quest for a proper venue is finally over.

After an exhaustive search for a site to host Concordia University’s orientation concert, the Concordia Student Union has secured a spot in its own backyard. The concert, which features Canadian artists K’naan and Chromeo, will take place outdoors at the Loyola Quad on Sept. 9.

“When we started planning the event we just wanted to throw the sickest party we could,” said CSU President Prince Ralph Osei. “Now I think we can look forward to exactly that.”

For a second consecutive year, the Ville Marie borough denied the CSU a permit to block off a small section of MacKay Street outside the university’s downtown campus because the student union could not guarantee the concert’s noise level wouldn’t exceed 80 decibels.

“Eighty decibels is a phone ringing,” said Osei. “I’m pretty sure [July’s] late night Mardi Gras parade on Ste. Catherine St. was louder than 80 decibels.”

Members of the student union looked to Sammy Forcillo, a Ville Marie City Councillor, to appeal the city’s decision but were eventually turned aside.

“At first [Forcillo] was co-operative,” said Osei. “And then he just stopped helping and didn’t return any of our calls.”

CSU VP External and Projects Adrien Severyns claims political pressure was behind Forcillo’s change of heart.

“His constituents didn’t want a concert,” he said. “But there are over 30,000 students at Concordia and we’re a part of his constituency too.”

Osei pointed to the cultural and financial contributions students make to the Ville Marie borough.

“You can’t calculate what students bring to [the Ville Marie borough],” he said. “The university is an essential part of the city. Students live, shop, eat and study in [Ville Marie].”

After being stonewalled by city officials, the CSU scrambled to find another venue. Their search took them to Uniprix Stadium and even the Bell Centre, locations that would have cost the student union $5,000 and $10,000, respectively.

Just as the student union’s hopes for a “sick party” began to dwindle, Peter Bolla, Concordia’s Associate Vice-President of Facilities Management, suggested they take a look at the Loyola Quad.
“I’m glad it all worked out,” said Bolla. “It should be fun.”

Osei, who served as the CSU VP Services and Loyola before being elected union president, was thrilled with the idea.

“It gives a chance for students who might never have a class at Loyola to discover this beautiful part of their university,” he said. “We’re just happy to have the concert outside again.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 02, published August 24, 2010.