Today, LOCKN’ Festival announced their “Super VIP” lineup and, as usual, it’s pretty damn exciting. The Super VIP sets are extremely intimate, exclusive performances held during the festival that are open only to those with Super VIP passes (which also get you access to special viewing areas for Main Stage shows, a separate campground, air-conditioned bathrooms and showers, catered meals, and more). LOCKN’s Super VIP program offers a fortunate few the opportunity for once-in-a-lifetime experiences–the chance to see huge artists up-close-and-personal, on a small stage, in a small crowd, tucked away alongside tens of thousands of GA attendees.The announcement press release describes the LOCKN’ Super VIP sets as “a culmination of creativity, inspiration, and imaginative collaboration.” This is no exaggeration. On Friday, August 25th, Keller Williams & Friends will play the Super VIP stage. Sunday will see Jorma Kaukonen play a solo performance, and Friday and Saturday late-night, Super VIPs will be able to enjoy dance parties with DJ Logic. But the clear highlight of the LOCKN’ Super VIP schedule is “A Very Special Hour w/ Phil Lesh & Bob Weir on Saturday, August 26th.The two founding Grateful Dead members will also be performing an exciting set for the main festival crowd with the Terrapin Family Band (a one-time tribute to the Dead’s seminal 1977 album Terrapin Station), so the LOCKN’ masses will surely get their fair share of Phil and Bobby. And, of course, LOCKN’ is one of the year’s biggest festivals for a reason: With a ridiculous schedule of some of the best artists in the scene (that Thursday String Cheese > Umphrey’s > String Cheese > Umphrey’s > Biscuits lineup is almost too good to be true) and a host of other exciting artists and collaborations on the docket (Gov’t Mule, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Widespread Panic, John Butler Trio, Greensky Bluegrass, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, moe., The Marcus King Band, etc.), nobody is getting shorted on incredible music at this event. It’s a slam dunk.But the fact remains that on LOCKN’ Saturday, Phil Lesh & Bob Weir will play together on a piece of land that’s simultaneously occupied with thousands upon thousands of people who gladly would travel halfway across the world–let alone hike across Infinity Downs Farm–to see these two guys play together, and that majority won’t see the performance. It’s a topic on which people tend to have strong and differing opinions.That’s an inherent part of the increasingly prevalent market for high-end, super VIP, exclusive perks at music festivals. To provide an incredible, singular experience for some you have to, by definition, exclude the many. And that makes sense. Exclusive access is a marketable commodity. We’ve started to see it everywhere to varying degrees, and a few new events have even popped up that cater exclusively to the exclusive crowd charging outrageous sums to “party like rock stars.”They’ve been decidedly hit-or-miss. Last year’s inaugural Desert Trip capitalized successfully on the high-end live music market, selling tickets that ranged from roughly $450 – upwards of $1700 for 3-day tickets. Fans shelled out, and the event was a success, because the event lived up to the high-end experience it offered, with a ridiculous lineup of a generation’s greatest artists, amenities, and curated experiences that matched the ticket prices.But we’ve also seen the pay-to-play model backfire in disastrous fashion. Last weekend’s royally botched Fyre Festival sold extravagantly priced tickets to a purportedly extravagant event, but when attendees arrived at the event’s island locale they were met with no accommodations, lack of water and sewage systems, partially built infrastructure, feral dogs, and other general chaos. All flights to and from the island were cancelled. The event was cancelled before it started, and the organizers had been promptly hit with a $100M class action suit by Monday morning.Whether or not you like it, we live in a free economy, and any business in any industry in this country is driven by the golden rule: supply and demand. As long as the market for exclusive experiences exists, there will always be a vast majority that gets excluded–the proverbial “Phil-and-Bobby-are-playing-right-behind-that-fence-right-there-and-you’re-not-allowed-in,” if you will. And people will always have strong and differing opinions on the matter: “Pay-to-play” vs. “Equality for all.” Just watch…Whatever your thoughts on the high-end live music market, we’ll be in Arrington, VA from August 24th – 27th to join in one of the best parties of the summer. And if you’re heading to LOCKN’ but you’re not Super VIP–don’t fret, friend. We guarantee you’ll see more great music than you know what to do with that weekend. Enjoy it!For more information on LOCKN’, or to purchase tickets, head to the festival’s website. [Cover photo via Getty Images]
The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. ’Tis the season of giving. For people with the means, donating to an organization or cause in need feels good and, particularly in tough times, feels like the right thing to do.Most of us like to think that our charitable contributions, whether to the local food bank or a nationally known medical research fund, make a real difference. And chances are that every dollar does indeed help. But if donors understood data better, those donations often could stretch even further, according to a pair of Harvard psychologists studying the psychology of altruism and ways to optimize charitable giving, which totaled $450 billion in the U.S. last year.That’s because no matter how prudent or well-intentioned, they say, most gift-giving decisions are driven by our social and emotional ties, not by a clinical analysis of which cause delivers the “best bang for the buck.”“The idea is to pay attention to the research and use your money to do as much good as possible, which often means doing things that you wouldn’t have predicted,” said Joshua Greene ’97, who studies the psychology and neuroscience of moral judgment.“It’s not about bad versus good, but good versus even better,” said Joshua Greene. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard file photoHe and Lucius Caviola, a postdoctoral researcher, are studying how people decide to give, and under what conditions givers might support “effective altruism,” a concept based on the philosophy of utilitarianism that encourages donors to take the same evidence-based approach used by financial investors and apply it to charitable giving. If a $100 donation can help 20 people or 2,000 people, effective altruism would show donors where the greatest number of people will benefit. Most giving decisions, such as on international aid, aren’t very data-driven because information about charity performance is scarce, so donors often rely on rudimentary or problematic metrics, the psychologists say.“Many people believe charities must have low overhead ratios to be effective, but that’s not true,” said Caviola, who studies charitable giving. “What matters is: Does the charity focus on a really important problem. and does it use a really effective intervention? It doesn’t matter whether it has a high or low overhead as long as it uses it effectively.”Donors also underestimate how wide the gap is between effective charities and others, according to a recent study Caviola conducted. They assume there’s only an incremental difference in their outcomes, when in fact top organizations are 100 times more effective than others. In global-health giving, for instance, “effectiveness” is typically measured by governments and health economists in lives saved or health-adjusted life years added per dollar.But supporting effective giving doesn’t mean that donating to a cherished group isn’t worthwhile, said Greene. “It’s not about bad versus good, but good versus even better.”“It often means giving money to organizations that help people overseas where the money goes further, and it means prioritizing the outcome over one’s personal feelings of connection or the personal satisfaction one gets,” he said.“Many people believe charities must have low overhead ratios to be effective, but that’s not true,” said Lucius Caviola, a postdoctoral researcher. Courtesy photoThat seems sensible, but the deeply rooted psychology behind why we give is complicated. While people like the idea of giving effectively, Caviola said even after learning that one charity is more effective than another, most people still prefer to give to entities where they have emotional or personal connections.“We weren’t designed for impartial beneficence; we weren’t designed to care about everybody equally. Our social emotions really evolved for social teamwork — I give you food when your hunting doesn’t go well, and you do the same for me — and we survive that way,” said Greene.Since charitable giving is as much about joyful feelings of helping others as it is about the gift received, Caviola and Greene are exploring whether more people might embrace effective giving if they didn’t have to forgo their favorite causes. They recently launched Giving Multiplier, an online platform that eases — and sweetens —donations to global health and development charities as part of their research. Donors select a favorite charitable organization and then choose from a short, curated list of charities rated as highly effective by GiveWell, a nonprofit that evaluates charity effectiveness. They then can decide how much to donate and what percentage of their donation goes to each organization. For every donation, the platform will add as much as 20 percent on top.The project will give them better insight into charitable decision-making and into whether such an intervention helps donors overcome the innate tug of personal interests. If Giving Multiplier proves popular, it may outlast their current research, Greene said.“Our hope is that this can be a way into effective giving that works for a much wider group of people and that works with people’s basic desires and motivations instead of trying to replace them,” he said.
Last year, the USC men’s volleyball team got swept in three quick sets at Pepperdine.It might be a little bit different this time around.Teamwork · Junior setter Riley McKibbin sets up junior middle blocker Austin Zahn for the spike. The two were a part of a talented recruiting class that has helped the Trojans acheive the nation’s top ranking. – Katelynn Whitaker | Daily Trojan “That [loss] is in the back of everyone’s mind,” junior outside hitter Murphy Troy said.The Trojans (6-1, 4-0) come into the match at Pepperdine’s Firestone Fieldhouse tonight as the top-ranked team in the nation, while the No. 11 Waves (1-4, 1-3) are reeling from the loss of their superstar. Even though the Waves finished second in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation last year, they lost 2009 National Player of the Year and three-time All-American Paul Carroll to graduation and are struggling to learn a new, quicker offense.But the Trojans aren’t taking the Waves lightly; they know it’s not easy playing at Pepperdine.“It’s one of the toughest environments in NCAA volleyball and Pepperdine’s the kind of school and program you can’t underestimate,” junior outside hitter Tri Bourne said.That said, the Trojans come into the match boasting the best record in the MPSF, and they are off to their best start since 2000. They have five returning starters from last year’s squad, which beat Pepperdine in the MPSF Championship.USC could get another victory if it pulls out the win tonight — albeit only a mental victory.“We divided our season into three segments, and Friday will be the final piece of the first segment,” USC coach Bill Ferguson said. “If we could finish the first third being undefeated in the league, that’s going to be a huge deal.”One of the bright spots for the Trojans during the first third of the season has been Bourne. Bourne was part of the talented recruiting class that included 2009 All-American Troy and 2009 third team All-Americans, junior setter Riley McKibbin and junior middle blocker Austin Zahn.Yet Bourne was hampered by injuries in his first two seasons. He missed the fall of his freshman year due to appendicitis, and he missed significant time the summer and fall of his sophomore year with a herniated disc.This is the first time Bourne has been able to train year-round, and it’s paying off. Bourne has a .345 hitting percentage and averages 3.23 kills per game, which are both well above his career average.With other teams focusing on Troy, Bourne can take advantage and punish the opposition.“He’s an unbelievably talented young man,” Ferguson said. “He’s as good an outside hitter as anyone in the country. He’s just been sitting in the weeds the past few years.”With a healthy Bourne, the Trojans have improved a lot over the first two weeks of the season in the serving and passing category.Blocking, however, is an area the team realizes it needs to improve upon.USC has been out-blocked in the last two matches, which have been sweeps. While the Trojans focused on offense the first part of the season, the team turned its attention to defense this week as they worked on blocking.Ferguson isn’t too worried about the team’s problems in the blocking category as it is built to succeed without needing to block.“Part of what we do is not play to get the stuff block — we’re a better digging and transition team right now,” Ferguson said. “We’ve been so good over the past few years defensively digging the ball.”Also, the fact that the Trojans get a lot of aces — USC is third in the MSPF averaging 1.46 aces per game — means that there’s less opportunities to block balls.If the Trojans can step it up defensively, they will be tough to beat. But they know that Pepperdine has the talent to be a very competitive team.“They’re going to be heard from and that’s the scary thing about them,” Ferguson said. “They have unbelievably talented players, it’s just a matter of when they put things together.”
It was with a great deal of sadness and emotions that CAF and its President Issa Hayatou learned about the passing away of Mr Abd-el-Hamid Kermali on April 13th. The Algerian football icon breathed his last, at the age of 81, in the town of Sétif.The veteran player of the FLN football team (1958) and former coach of the national team had brought the Fennecs the Africa Cup of Nations in 1990. After having started his football journey at the USM Sétif, he had pursued his professional career in France in 1955; by joining clubs such as the FC Mulhouse, the AS Cannes, and the Olympique Lyonnais, with a total of 136 matches played.He then went back to Algeria to join the FLN team and to make his country’s voice heard. Mr Kermali later on assumed the duty of coaching several teams such as the ES Sétif, the MC Alger, and even the AS Marsa in Tunisia.On behalf of the President Issa Hayatou, the CAF Executive Committee, as well as the African football family; the Confederation of African Football (CAF) extends its sincere condolences to the FAF, to the Algerian football community as a whole, as well as to the family of the deceased.
“In 2016, getting ready for the first match at Nippert, I was thinking maybe 500 to 1,000 people would be there,” Patterson told Sporting News. “Then you walk into the stadium — it was a cold day in April — and they had 13,000 people. To me, 13,000 people was like a sellout.“Nobody had a clue.”MORE: New playoff format, stars make MLS’ 24th season a mysteryThis is a colloquial expression, because she understands: Berding knew. He was an executive with the Cincinnati Bengals, working as director of sales and public affairs. He’d spent three terms as a member of city council. He grew up on the city’s West Side, a place where it’s not uncommon for children to return and buy homes in the same neighborhoods as their parents. He’d graduated from St. Xavier High, one of several all-boys Catholic high schools in Cincy whose graduates retain a sort of enduring fraternity. Berding was part of the fabric of the city in a way few outsiders can fully understand.It was his vision to bring high-level professional soccer to Cincinnati, starting in 2016 in the second-division United Soccer League. The club was an immediate sensation, the region’s passion so overwhelming that it forced MLS to embrace a city it might never have considered as a possibility for its expansion efforts.Saturday, when FC Cincinnati takes the field in Seattle for its first game as the 24th club in Major League Soccer, one of the most remarkable ascents in modern American professional sports will reach a peak. Not the last for which Berding and FCC are aiming, but an amazing achievement in such a short period of time.“We tried to build a Major League Soccer franchise from Day 1. That was always part of the plan,” Berding, the team president, told Sporting News. “Four years was always the plan, because Orlando had done it in five years, and we felt Cincinnati is a better sports market. If they could do it in five, Cincinnati could do it in four. And we did.”Somehow, he saw this. Cincinnati’s overwhelming soccer interest was not overt. Columbus was a founding member of Major League Soccer, but those who drove the 90 minutes up I-71 to attend Crew games hadn’t much company from back home. The Cincinnati soccer bars rarely, if ever, were overrun on Premier League mornings. Three indoor and two outdoor teams in various leagues came and went between 1996 and 2012.Perhaps the only real hint there was a latent interest in soccer came in 2002, when the World Cup final between Brazil and Germany was scheduled to be televised by ABC early on Sunday morning, June 30. The local affiliate, WCPO, planned to show the world’s biggest sporting event on tape delay because it did not wish to preempt paid religious programming. A flood of calls from angry viewers convinced the station to air the game live.Berding had two children who played competitive club soccer and was board president of one of the big youth clubs, King’s Hammer. As a soccer dad, he traveled around the country to games and could see the sport growing rapidly.“You could see all these big facilities, brand-new facilities, that municipalities were investing in on the youth side,” Berding said. “There were literally thousands and thousands of parents and kids. One time we had a tournament in Elizabethtown, Ky,, and we had to stay in a hotel at the Louisville airport — 58 miles away. Because all the hotels were booked.“It spurred my interest. So I started looking at all the NFL data to see the growth in soccer between 2004 and 2014. Soccer went from not being on the sports pyramid in 2004 to really being up there by 2014, just behind the NFL and college football.”MORE: FC Cincinnati 2019 previewHe examined the local Nielsen ratings for the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams and Premier League games. He compared the numbers of youth players in the market to those in Kansas City and St. Louis and concluded the growth pattern could best be described by one word: “Explosive.”With a growing local economy that was recruiting more young corporate talent from outside the city, “It seemed like the ingredients were there, the growth was there,” Berding said. “And If we did it the right way, we can be immediately successful.”He took his plan to his bosses with the Cincinnati Bengals. They passed. He went up the street to the Cincinnati Reds. They declined, also. But billionaire Carl Lindner III, CEO of the American Financial Group, whose father had owned the Reds, heard of Berding’s pursuit and asked for a meeting. Lindner agreed to become majority owner.One of Lindner’s friends is Phil Anschutz, now the investor/operator of the Los Angeles Galaxy, who helped save MLS in the 2000s along with Lamar Hunt, the two of them operating multiple teams to help stabilize the league. He had tried to talk Lindner into investing in a team, Berding said, “But Carl’s only interest was Cincinnati. That’s the Lindners. They are hometown people. They bring businesses to Cincinnati or start businesses in Cincinnati.”Even before the team played its first game in MLS, Lindner and Berding flew to New York for a meeting with MLS commissioner Don Garber. They wanted to be sure that if they did this right there would be an opportunity for Cincinnati in MLS. The Columbus franchise hadn’t yet reached the crisis that would launch the Save The Crew movement, but it generally was problematic in terms of community support. There would be outside questions about whether another club in such proximity would be warranted.FCC answered those questions emphatically. On the field, the club reached the 2017 U.S. Open Cup semifinals and even held a second-half lead on the New York Red Bulls before falling. In 2018, looking to build toward MLS, management constructed a roster designed to win a championship and to make the most comfortable possible transition to American soccer’s first division.Last summer, they executed a deal to bring in striker Fanendo Adi, who had scored 50 goals in 120 appearances with the Portland Timbers and started for the MLS Cup winners in 2015. He was on a Designated Player contract with the Timbers. Midfielder Fatai Alashe was signed, as well, having most recently played for the San Jose Earthquakes.“We want to be a winning team,” Berding said. “It’ll be a process. We played Columbus last week. We weren’t very good. It will be better this week against Seattle. Will be better the next week in Atlanta. Two months from now we’ll be better at the summer window, and we’ll be better at the end of the season. You know, we’re playing teams that have played together. Our guys are still learning where someone’s going to be on the field. So much of this is just familiarity and consistency. And when guys have that, it’s pretty attractive and it’s winning.”That first game Patterson remembers was only the start. Nippert Stadium, the football stadium the University of Cincinnati had recently refurbished, proved an inviting venue for soccer fans and a crucible for visiting teams. FC Cincinnati sold 10,000 season tickets that first year and broke the USL attendance record with an average of 17,296 per game. That didn’t include a crowd of more than 35,000 when Crystal Palace of the Premier League visited for a friendly.Alan Pardew, who has managed seven of England’s top clubs, told the Cincinnati Enquirer, “It’s not often you have an atmosphere like that in the preseason, and not actually in a league game.” It was becoming common for FCC, though.The following year the season ticket base was up to 13,000 and the average attendance was 21,000 per game. In year three, last summer, when the club won the USL regular season, season tickets were up to 15,000 and the average attendance was over 25,000, which would have ranked fifth in MLS.Indeed, FC Cincinnati charged USL prices, so it wasn’t entirely a fair comparison. As a Major League Soccer club, prices are up about 70 percent. The season ticket base is up to 20,000. Nippert can hold much more. It seems it will need to. The opening home match is March 17 against Portland. All but a few of the lower-bowl tickets remaining are singles. Nippert wasn’t meant to be the club’s long-term home, however. That will be built in the city’s West End, on the site of a high school football stadium. It is expected to open in 2021.“I grew up in a football family: college football and the NFL. We didn’t even have soccer at my school,” Patterson said. “My dad is the No. 1 FC Cincinnati fan now. My whole family, they love it; it’s been really cool to watch them come to matches and enjoy it.“I try to give my season tickets to people who’ve never been to a game. When they come, they want to come back.” Lindsay Patterson grew up in a small town outside Cincinnati dreaming of a career covering the city’s high-profile sports. At the time, that meant Reds and Bengals, as well as the major college basketball teams at UC and Xavier. Soccer seemed more like something kids did on Saturday and Sunday morning, during the Little League offseason.When she heard in 2015 about Jeff Berding’s plan to bring professional soccer to Cincinnati, though, she knew this was an opportunity. If the new FC Cincinnati were interested in hiring a sideline reporter, she wanted that job. Her hustle and talent got her hired — she was on the phone to Berding almost as soon as the team’s formation was announced — but she had no idea what she was walking into.