The 2019 Maine Day Concert was originally scheduled to feature T-Pain, Skizzy Mars and Chelsea Cutler. On Monday night, April 22, Student Government (UMSG) was informed that headliner T-Pain was reportedly sick and intended to cancel his show at the advice of a doctor.
Corey Claflin, the vice president for student entertainment, spent the next 36 hours working with Concert Ideas, the booking coordinator that initially found T-Pain, to find a replacement artist with four days to spare until the concert on Saturday night.
“Monday night through Wednesday it was basically nonstop working on different angles and options for a replacement and mapping out how the logistics might change for different acts,” Claflin said. “Typically, when you send a contract out you give the artist a few days deadline to accept or deadline but in our situation, we were looking at 1-3 hour deadlines.”
Claflin and his assistant vice president for student entertainment, Greg Warmuth, wanted to find someone that would satisfy students and was available on short notice.
“We were dealing with finding a new artist within 36-48 hours plus dealing with the PR fallout of our headliner canceling,” Claflin said.
Concert Ideas found Snakehips, a British electronic group made up of Oliver Lee and James Carter. They are best known for their single, “All My Friends,” which peaked at No. 5 on the U.K. singles chart and has over 300 million listens on Spotify. Chance the Rapper and Tinashe perform the vocals to “All My Friends,” but did not make an appearance at the concert.
Claflin said that before settling on Snakehips, the organizing committee received between 200 and 250 calls, emails and texts from people proposing ideas for replacement artists, most notably Gualla Boys, a Portland-based rap duo. Maine rappers Spose and Dylan Raw were also suggested.
The cancelation came days after Student Government came under fire for running out of student tickets after selling 250 tickets to non-students. Students were frustrated that they paid their annual $50 student activities fee and were unable to get a ticket.
3,000 tickets were made available but the limited number was not publicized before tickets ran out. Following T-Pain’s cancellation, Student Government made additional free tickets available to students.
“Upon reevaluation through contact with the Orono Fire Department and expansion of the fence line, we were able to hand out an additional 200 tickets in order to compensate for T-Pain’s absence,” Chase Flaherty, Student Government vice president-elect, said.
Claflin said that he was not able to share the amount paid to Snakehips to replace T-Pain or how the sun compared to T-Pain’s contract, citing Student Government’s agreement with Concert Ideas.
Three food trucks from the Bangor area, Melt, Pompeii Pizza and Wild Cow Creamery, were present at the concert. The concert was held in the rain in the Hilltop parking lot.
Chelsea Cutler, the first opening artist, started as a Soundcloud producer. Her breakthrough single, “Your Shirt,” has 68 million listens on Spotify. Skizzy Mars is a Harlem-based rapper whose debut album, “Alone Together,” reached 50 on the Billboard 200.