Street: Where did the idea come from?
Oscar Mattsson: One of the brothers of St. A’s has family affiliated with the First City Troupe, which owns the 23rd Street Armory. We were interested in throwing a party, but when we saw the space back in August, it was huge! Way beyond the scope of what we normally handle. We realized it could be a great idea if we pulled some fraternities and worked together. An added bonus is that we give all proceeds to charity.
Street: So which fraternities are in on this?
OM: It’s St. Anthony Hall, SAE, Castle, Kappa Sig, Beta and Zete. First City Troupe itself is also a part of the planning and fundraising of the event.
Street: And how did you choose the charities?
OM: The charities we came to consensus on are Ben Cohen’s StandUp, RAINN, and Philabundance. StandUp is an anti–bullying campaign focusing on LGBT issues, RAINN helps prevent rape and educates against rape culture and Philabundance is the largest food bank in the Delaware valley and does amazing work for the hungry. They are ones that we also think, in general, are underrepresented within the fraternity space. Often times you will hear about sororities throwing charity events, but won’t associate a fraternity with philanthropy. Also, some of the brothers have involvement with these charities on a personal level, so we know that the money would make a difference.
Street: What about the artist? Why did you choose Madeon?
OM: We found a buying agent that we could trust and were working with an incredibly short time frame. This is the first time that Halloween will be on a Friday in seven years, and booking agencies have done more booking for this Friday than for the last three New Years combined. The buying agent presented us with names until we were able to change Madeon’s routing so that we are the unofficial first stop on his tour.
Street: He’s got an album dropping in the near future—is Madeon going to perform some of his new songs?
OM: Yes. It’s really cool that we will have him because we will be some of the first people to hear his new album. In a year or two, maybe people will brag, “Madeon played at Penn.”
Street: Do you think people will be able to meet him after the show?
OM: Contractually it’s up to him, but from what I have heard he is an incredibly nice guy and he is not in a rush to get out of the area. The concert is supposed to be on the early side of the night – we are opening our doors at 8 PM. We will have openers and closers. It’s not just a concert. There are drinks at bars and tables for sale.
Street: Are tickets sold out already?
OM: We sold 2000 tickets in five days and we currently have 400 people on the waiting list.
Street: Why throw this?
OM: For $30 a ticket, we can provide an international artist in a unique space that demonstrates solidarity of on campus fraternities. All the profit goes to charity.
Street: How often did you meet cross–fraternity?
OM: We met at the least once a week. It was usually the President and social chair of each fraternity. Planning this has usually been three hours a day, every day—contracting, approving posters, maintaining social media presence. I have been incredibly invested because I believe that it will be a cool event, and I enjoy doing it. But it would not be possible without everyone involved.
Street: What’s your pitch on the safety of this event?
OM: EMTs are on the scene, the city knows about it, there will be a police detail, and we have a professional production company that puts up festivals for a living. Everything from certified bartenders to certified security, we have covered as many bases as we can to make sure that this is just a positive event for everybody. 95% of this concert will be Penn students—everybody needs a student ID to get in.
Street: And this is a costumes–approved event?
OM: Costumes are strongly encouraged. We’re serving liquor until 2 a.m. and staying open until 2 a.m. It would be a shame if we had this amazing space with amazing sound system and had to kick people out.
Street: What is some advice you can give on time management for someone who wants to be creative and plan an event like this?
OM: I would be lying if I said it isn’t tough. I juggle and drop things from time to time. Be realistic about what you can do time–wise. I think that people have time for three things in college—something, school and friends. I don’t think that people can do more than that. Pick what you love to do—success is a product of passion.