SCOPE hosts successful in-person, outdoor show


Kaylin Moriarty

DURHAM, NH- The University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Student Commitee On Popular Entertainment (SCOPE) has been working the last couple of months to bring the first outdoor spring concert to the campus in 32 years. This past Sunday UNH’s A-Lot was filled with live music and fresh air as the student-run organization’s work finally became a reality. 

The Whittemore Center Arena, the traditional home to SCOPE events, is undergoing renovations, which presented a unique opportunity. 

“We are really proud to organize something like this,” said John Rooney, UNH senior and executive director of SCOPE. “I remember coming in as a freshman and this being a goal, but a lofty goal.” 

The biggest challenge, Rooney said, was convincing UNH administration to allow an outdoor concert. To produce an outdoor concert of that extent is expensive, but the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Whittemore construction made compelling reasons to do so. 

SCOPE, a student-run organization financed by the Student Activity Fee, partnered with UNH’s Campus Activity Board and other local vendors to offer games, local brands to shop from and food trucks to the concert site. 

“I liked that the venue was outside,” says Kelsey Roberts, a UNH first-year student who attended the show. “It made it so I didn’t have to worry as much about Covid and gave off a really cool vibe.” 

The main event of the evening was musical artist Dominic Fike. An unexpected selection for UNH’s SCOPE considering their history with choosing more rap and hip-hop based performers. Fike’s diverse alternative indie style of music still incorporated elements of hip hop making him a new and interesting choice. 

Fike’s opener, artist Chelsea Cutler, also brought something new to SCOPE by being the first female artist UNH has seen after a long stretch of male dominated performances. 

“We have talked about bringing a woman to campus for as long as I can remember, we just could never find the right fit,” says Julia Gomes, the publicity director of SCOPE, “When we got the opportunity to bring Chelsea Cutler it was a no-brainer for us.” 

Cutler even drew attention to this during her performance, adding how happy she was to be a part of ending gender inequality within SCOPE performers. 

Artist selection is a crucial part of organizing a SCOPE event. The performer determines so many aspects of the concert including the crowd, attendance, experience, and overall energy. 

“We tried to play to as many categories as we could with the numbers that we had,” said Harrison Flagg, who was former analytics director for SCOPE and will be replacing John Rooney as the executive director in the fall. 

Flagg is referring to the survey that SCOPE posts via their social media pages to gauge what genres of music and artists students would like to see perform. This year, he explained how the survey resulted in pop, hip-hop and rap, alternative, and indie being some of the top votes for what students would like to hear in concert. This is what led the organization to pick Fike and Cutler as headliners. 

“I feel like the students think they don’t get heard as much as they really do. We really take into consideration everything that they tell us, and we do everything we can to make sure the concert happens in ways they want it to,” said Flagg. 

Photos courtesy of Jackie Weik.