For the first time since 2019, Temple University is hosting its annual concert, Owlchella, on April 21 at the Liacouras Center, with rappers Jack Harlow and Swae Lee headlining the event.
The concert was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students attending this year’s event will be required to wear masks in accordance with the university’s indoor mask mandate, which was reinstated on April 18 in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases across the city.
“We didn’t know if we were going to be able to have the spring concert, there were still a lot of doubts and there was so much uncertainty,” said Sydney Noble, a senior business management major and the director of live entertainment for Temple’s Main Campus Program Board, which organized the event. “So planning this for this long and seeing it finally happening, I’m just so excited.”
Mark Denys, senior director of Student and Employee Health Services, believes Owlchella will pose a very low risk for spreading COVID-19 because attendees will be wearing masks. Only Temple students were allowed to buy tickets and about 97.6 percent of the student body is fully vaccinated, according to the university’s vaccination and case dashboard.
“That’s going to make it a very safe event from a vaccination standpoint, and the risk is going to be extremely low,” Denys said. “We know that the risk of severe disease for Temple students is incredibly low. So given all those circumstances, I think it is a low-risk event.”
As of April 20, Temple has 65 active COVID-19 cases.
MCPB sold 4,700 Owlchella tickets during the first two weeks of sales, which began on March 18. The capacity for the event is 7,500 people, Noble said.
“We haven’t seen an Owlchella this big, it’s going to be a really big show, a really big production,” Noble said. “I think it’s an awesome opportunity to get people excited for the concert and live music and back into normalcy again.”
Clare Maloney, a sophomore painting major, decided to purchase a ticket for Owlchella because she hasn’t attended any concerts or events since 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She agrees there should be a mask mandate in place during the event because it will be crowded.
“Just to be experiencing a concert festival is really exciting since I haven’t been to one in awhile, so I think that’s probably the most exciting part,” Maloney said.
MCPB began planning Owlchella in August 2021 by looking at potential dates and venues like The Met Philadelphia. Noble said it was difficult to secure the Liacouras Center because other events were scheduled at the end of April, around the same time that Owlchella usually occurs, but she managed to lock down the venue in October 2021.
After securing the location, Noble looked for artists who were available on the day of the concert and within MCPB’s budget. She then submitted an offer form to the artists, with help from agents and Degy Entertainment, an entertainment buyer that books and executes events. Then they solidified contracts between Temple’s legal team and the artists’ legal teams, finalizing the process in March.
Noble is working with Synergetic Productions, a sound and production company, to manage the sound and lighting during the event. Once the logistics of the event were approved by Temple’s and the company’s legal team, the next step was working on marketing materials, advertising plans and solidifying ticket designs with the Liacouras Center.
“It’s such a rewarding process, and being in this role and being a part of MCPB is by far my favorite thing I’ve ever done and I’ve ever been a part of at Temple,” Noble said.
Tickets are still being sold for the event, and students can purchase theirs through the Liacouras Center’s website.