Madison is among the 21 cities that will host an international music tour this spring.
The tour is set to come to Madison May 13. Although lineups are not officially announced, the tour, called “Yahoo! on the Road,” will feature artists such as Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, with special guests Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean and Trey Songz, Billboard reported Thursday last week.
Yahoo!’s official tour website states the three-month tour starting in May will encompass 32 performers, ten comedians and one yodeler, reaching audiences spanning New York, Chicago, Paris and London, to name a few. Other details about the Madison event were not available.
The festival is a somewhat unexpected addition to Madison’s music scene, which will include another new music event on May 4.
Frank Productions’ spokesperson Charlie Goldstone said “Yahoo! on the Road” could either be a major festival or one very small stop within the larger tour.
Associated Students of Madison Vice Chair Maria Giannopoulos, who is among the student leaders involved with the alternative Mifflin Block Party music festival Revelry to take place May 4, said she thinks Yahoo! could have picked a much better day to come to Madison.
The event might draw some people, Giannopoulos said, but because May 13 is the Monday of finals week, she said she does not know how many students will attend.
“Really, I think that finals are way more important than going to a music festival,” Giannopoulos said. “I have two finals on Tuesday, so I won’t be there.”
Giannopoulos said she believes student response will depend on what musical artists are involved. She said she is interested to see what Yahoo! has to offer, but having the festival visit Madison during finals week might not be a good idea.
According to Goldstone, the festival would have to take place at a large venue such as the Kohl Center, if not a bigger location.
Madison does not typically see large acts like Jay-Z or Justin Timberlake visit, Goldstone said, because it does not have a large enough facility to handle major concerts. He said the Alliant Energy Center’s Coliseum is too small and difficult for students to get to, and the Kohl Center is not open to artists.
“Without a facility like the Kohl Center,” Goldstone said. “It’s almost impossible to bring big name acts to Madison.”
In the past, Goldstone said, Frank Productions has brought artists such as Dave Matthews, Kenny Chesney, Tom Petty and Brittney Spears to the Kohl Center. But, he added, because the Kohl Center stopped holding major concerts around 2007, the city misses out by not being able to host artists there.
Giannopoulos said Yahoo! could struggle with attaining the proper permit to secure a city location to host the event. She said the process might be difficult because, with the event scheduled during finals, people might be more hesitant to allow a disruptive event take place on the University of Wisconsin campus.
“Finals need to be quiet [to] promote academic learning and thriving on exams,” Giannopoulos said.
There is no way an artist would be able to perform on a place like Bascom Hill, Giannopoulos argued. She said she does not think anyone would let Yahoo! amplify music on campus while people are studying or taking exams.