“Because she is a pretty big name, a lot of people knew her music,” says Remi Sage Koppel Egierd ’21, a member of the Pub Entertainment Committee’s Executive Board. “She played, and the crowd was shouting her lyrics. It was a great show.”
A student-run group, PEC has been bringing well-known acts like Lady Lamb to Clark for decades, providing the campus community with an entertaining and diverse array of free live music every month. The University has a long legacy of attracting legendary bands — The Grateful Dead, The Clash, Bruce Springsteen, and Jimi Hendrix all performed on campus.
Board member Max Koerner-Imas ’22 decided to attend Clark based, in part, on that history. After hearing about the Pub Entertainment Committee from a hometown friend, he enrolled.
“Given the small size of the school, I knew it was something I could easily be a part of and be hands-on quickly,” he says.
Koerner-Imas, a media, culture, and the arts major, joined PEC his first year. Since then, he’s spoken with several former members who went on to successful careers in the music industry, including Larry Webman ’92, a talent agent who represents bands including Coldplay, Dropkick Murphys, and Barenaked Ladies. Inspired by his experience in the Clark music scene and the fine arts, Koerner-Imas plans to pursue a career in talent management.
“In some way, it sets a bar knowing what PEC has done in the past,” he says.
As executive board members, he and Egierd take the lead on bringing musicians to campus.
The process of booking shows begins with brainstorming sessions over school breaks, during which members discuss which artists they’ve been listening to and who might appeal to the broader campus community. Group members then gather data from Spotify streams, recent shows the artists have played, and ticket prices to gauge who they can afford to book. After they’ve done their research, they’ll either get an estimate from a band or make an offer, and negotiate from there.
Once the artist has been booked, PEC members handle everything from advertising to coordinating transportation.
“We’re all very hands-on with the artist the day of the show making sure everything is correct,” Koerner-Imas says.
To appeal to the broader campus community, PEC tries to switch up musical genres each month and has even polled the student body about what it would like to hear. The organization is funded by the University, so members take their role seriously.
“In the end, we’re spending students’ money, so it is a big responsibility,” Egierd said. “We talk a lot about booking artists that students want to hear.”
The Pub Entertainment Committee is trying to grow its presence on campus by collaborating with other clubs and expanding its programming at different events, such as Spree Day. Raising awareness is a priority, as members hope to create more of a concert culture on campus.
“It is nice that Clark has students in charge of this. It’s student programming by students,” Egierd says.
Egierd and Koerner-Imas use the word “surreal” to describe the experience of watching performers they’ve booked become more widely recognized. Last year, Koerner-Imas worked for months to bring rock band Screaming Females to campus, and last semester he helped book New York rapper Wiki. About a month after each show, both performers were featured in The New York Times. Last year, Egierd drove singer-songwriter Sidney Gish to and from the Worcester train station. A few months later, her name appeared on the Boston Calling music festival lineup.
“She played here and now she’s playing on this massive stage,” Koerner-Imas said. “It’s very gratifying to know we did our job in getting an act that people are aware of and impressed by. It’s like a stamp of approval.”