Univ. nixes Fall Fest artist, Girl Talk, days before concert

Friday, August 29

Correction appended

The University backed out of contract negotiations with popular mash-up artist Girl Talk on Thursday, about a week before he was scheduled to play at Fall Fest, a University official said.

Tim Miller, executive director of the Student Activities Center, said the University did not sign the $15,000 contract after confirming the band because they had concerns about safety and security. The musician had requested that there not be barricades in front of the audience, and that people be able to join him on the stage, Miller said.

“It is something we aren’t equipped to handle and is something we weren’t willing to take on,” he said.

Miller said another band, Rooney, was also scheduled to play the concert, but backed out this week because of “a family emergency.”

Girl Talk booking agent Sam Hunt, who works for The Windish Agency, said GW initiated negotiations for the Sept. 6 concert on Aug. 4 and confirmed the artist as a headliner on Aug. 7. He said the University acted inappropriately by backing out of the contract after the artist was confirmed for a show.

“They really pulled the rug out from under us today,” Hunt said on Thursday.

“They had ample opportunity to not make an offer or to decide they were not equipped to hold this concert, but instead they took the information we gave them and presented an official offer,” Hunt wrote in an e-mail. “We confirmed it, and they agreed to the confirmation. When we got the contract, we even expressed willingness to work with them on the issues they were concerned about, and instead they insisted on not holding the show.”

Miller contended that certain issues like the barricades were “dealbreakers” for the band.

Program Board Chairman Tiffany Meehan declined to comment, but said a news release about the details of the concert would be released Friday afternoon. No statement had been issued as of Saturday afternoon.

Hunt said they were frustrated about the timing of the news.

“I’ve booked 75 (Girl Talk) shows at colleges before, and I understand that concerts at colleges are an irregular occurrence,” he said. “But I’ve never had someone a week out decide they’re pulling out.”

Known for mixing as many as a dozen different samples in his songs, Girl Talk, whose real name is Gregg Gillis, has released four albums in the last six years. In the past, he has gained notoriety for his onstage antics, as well as his habit of sampling songs without the other artists’ permission.

Hunt would not comment on whether his organization plans to pursue legal action against the University.

Nathan Wright, who books shows for the Program Council at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said Girl Talk played on the campus last week, with students dancing on stage. He said the administration was initially concerned about the act.

“They were terrified. They were extremely terrified,” Wright said. “All in all it was fine. We had students on stage … Everything went smoothly.”

Andrew Ramonas, Eric Roper and Jennifer Easton contributed to this report.

An earlier version of this article stated that Girl Talk had signed a contract with GW. The two parties were still in negotiations.

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