Boston Issues Mandates for Hip-Hop Artist's Show

Security has been tightened for Tuesday's Kanye West concert after the city of Boston mandated more than 100 police and security officers and nixed the general admission seating in favor of an assigned seating system.

The changes came down last Thursday when Boston College officials met with the Boston Licensing Authority to discuss the concert.

"Very similar to football games, we have to apply for an entertainment license every time we do a concert in the city of Boston," said Chris Darcy, assistant dean who was at the meeting. "Last week the city was going to cancel our concert because of their concerns. To make Kanye West happen, we have to change our entire policy."

As part of the new policy, students will be required to exchange their tickets Monday or Tuesday outside of Gate C of Conte Forum. The first 1,000 students will have the option of getting tickets for floor seating starting at 8 p.m. tonight. Tickets for seating in the rest of the arena will be exchanged from 8:30 to 10:00 p.m. tonight, and noon to 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Each ticket will have an assigned seat -- similar to concerts at the TD Banknorth Garden -- including seats on the floor. Students will have to stand in front of their seats.

"The City of Boston had a lot of concerns about having general admission," said Prescott White, programming board director and A&S '06.

This year's security force has also jumped by approximately 500 percent over last year, with 100 security officers present -- 32 BC Police Department officers, at least eight officers from the Boston Police Department, and 60 security officers from event staff, which provides staff for football and basketball games. Last year's concert had just 20 college police officers.

"We've doubled the amount of metal detectors and will have security inside and outside the arena," said Lt. Tom King. "All we want to do is make sure everyone has a good time. If everyone works together, we should be fine."

The added security will put an even bigger strain on the budget, which has been stretched thin due in part to the $150,000 price tag for landing West. The UGBC will be required to bear the burden of the increased security costs.

The city's stated concern revolves around the number of people attending the concert, which is expected to be close to 6,000, compared to around 2,800 last year. After the 2003 fire in a Rhode Island night club killed 93 people, the city says its policy has been to not allow general admission seating, though previous spring concerts as well as concerts at other universities have been general admission.

West will be performing a similar concert at UMass-Boston Wednesday night. That concert has festival style seating rather than assigned seating.

Seating on the floor will start 13 feet from the stage and the floor will be watched by CSC Event Staff.

The concert will begin at 8 p.m. with opening act Tunez, a rapper whose cousin is a freshman at BC, who will perform until 8:20 p.m. West is expected to take the stage at 8:30 p.m. and perform until 10 p.m. Lupe Fiasco, who was featured on the track "Touch the Sky" from West's Late Registration album, will no longer be performing as a second opening act.

All ticket holders will need to present a BC ID as well, a change from the original policy. Outside visitors will be allowed entry only if they enter with a BC ticket holder.

"We really appreciate people's patience, because this has been a labor of passion to make this show happen and we're going to do whatever it takes," said Darcy. "We know people will really enjoy the show if they can work with us. We didn't plan it this way."

(C) 2006 The Heights via U-WIRE