While the June 20 cancellation of the Little Buddy Big Buddy Barbecue — short-handed as LB5Q — appeared to leave Edwards Business Students’ Society without its preeminent fundraising event, the group is aiming to start fresh while honouring the past with the announcement of LB5Q Presents: Blackout.
Revealed on Sept. 1, the 19+ event draws inspiration from its sister event, LB5Q Presents: White Out. While the latter, which in past years adopted the Sutherland Bar as home for its second-term welcome back party, sees ticket-holders donning their brightest whites for a night on the town, Blackout will reverse the theme for an evening clad in black to welcome everyone back for another school year.
If all tickets are sold, Blackout’s attendees will number 1,600 when they take over TCU Place on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.
In keeping with tradition, the Sept. 15 date was chosen to retain the Monday night slot which has become an integral part of the LB5Q experience.
Coupled with its noir colour scheme, Blackout will feature live performances from DJ’s Kindo, Mern and Mikey Dubz as well as a sponsored set from Charlie Hustle courtesy of Red Bull.
Food sales from LB5Q have traditionally gone toward a charitable donation to the Children’s Hospital Foundation. Though no plans for Blackout to feature a similar contribution have been announced, EBSS will be hosting a beer night at the Sutherland Bar on Sept. 8, all proceeds from which will be donated to CHF. The beer night will also feature 100 presale tickets for Blackout.
In its inaugural year, Blackout is intended as both a nod to Edwards School of Business and University of Saskatchewan tradition as well as a means of starting a new chapter in EBSS history.
“I think that’s why we chose the name,” said Brett Maerz, who works with EBSS alongside Lane Bannerman as LB5Q co-directors. “Now that the traditional LB5Q event has been cancelled, we want to tie in and make [Blackout] as connected to LB5Q as much possible.”
Much like its predecessor, Blackout will act as EBSS’ primary fundraising event for the academic year. Proceeds from the event will go toward various EBSS events as well as helping to finance travel for ESB students to attend academic competitions outside of Saskatoon.
The original LB5Q, which had developed into a back-to-school phenomenon and a campus institution in the over 20 years since its conception, was dropped due to insurance issues in the wake of pulled support from the U of S. A sprawling celebration of each new academic year, the event traditionally filled a mysterious rural location with live music, food, beverages and a seemingly endless number of attendees.
Despite zero reported incidents of hazardous behaviour, the U of S backed away from the event over concerns that its massive size — 4,200 tickets were sold in 2013 — was increasingly at risk of growing out of control or putting attendees in harm’s way. The development meant the loss of PotashCorp Way, or the commerce loop as it is commonly referred, as a pick-up and drop-off point, creating further worries over safety if organizers were to move the area to another location.
Though Maerz and Bannerman worked to retain the original LB5Q format, they and the EBSS executive eventually decided it was more sensible to hold onto branding elements and move on to a new event altogether.
“Obviously we wanted to play off of what we had going or to have the same event to continue, but we knew pretty early on that things weren’t going to be the same,” Lannerman said. “There were issues that we had to resolve and we tried to get around them, but then it became pretty clear that we were going to have to have a new event.”
“It got to a point where our council… didn’t feel comfortable putting on [LB5Q] because the safety of our students is the number one thing we take into consideration and we just didn’t want to cut corners. It kept getting clearer and clearer that if we were to bus students from a central location, the central location wasn’t safe enough,” Maerz added.
Both Maerz and Bannerman acknowledged that there is currently no intention of re-introducing LB5Q itself. Instead, the plan is to afford Blackout the room to come into its own as EBSS’ marquee event.
“The idea is to find something we can grow than to just try to re-introduce [LB5Q]. Part of the reason LB5Q was so good is because it was years and years of planning stacked on top of each other… I think you’d be more likely to see one of the events we have now — White Out or Blackout, or within a year or two the introduction of a new event — grow to LB5Q size or status. You need to build that up; you need to build the base,” Bannerman said. “People from Regina came to LB5Q; people from North, West, Eastern Saskatchewan were coming. It was a big deal. You don’t just have that overnight.”
As a freshman event following in the looming shadow of LB5Q, Blackout has a daunting legacy to live up to if it’s going to stand on its own as EBSS’ primary fundraiser. Bannerman has some encouraging words for those who are worried Blackout won’t be up to the task.
“It’s going to be a great event. We’ve put just as much if not more thought into this,” Bannerman said, stressing that they were unwilling to resort to a lackluster or poorly planned function simply to fill in a slot in their schedule. “The pressure was on us to put on an event that will make people say, ‘Oh yeah, that was as good as LB5Q’ or ‘That was better than LB5Q.’
“We’re guaranteeing a good time. If you haven’t been to an LB5Q event before, this is just as good a year as any to check them out with the new fresh look and fresh theme coming out.”
Tickets for LB5Q Presents: Blackout are available for $15 in the arts tunnel beginning Sept. 15 at 8:30 a.m.