On Thursday, Sept. 1, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) hosted its sixth annual concert extravaganza called Spark in the Park. The event, held at the UIC Pavilion, featured artists Travis Scott, Young Thug, and Daya performed. Free to all UIC students with a valid i-Card. Traditionally, the performances took place at the Harrison Field; however, the event relocated to the Pavilion due to an ongoing construction project. In the past, according to the UIC Spark in the Park Facebook page, our campus has welcomed artists like: Kid Cudi, Lupe Fiasco, Childish Gambino, Santigold, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Twenty One Pilots as headliners.
Tyler Portis, a member of the Student Advisory Board (SAB), claims that Spark in the Park could have increased its capacity and lowered finances if the location was Harrison Field. As of right now, the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) has to pay the venue for its space and staff to execute an “organized, safe, and fun event” for students and alumni to attend. After searching through Twitter with the #SparkinthePark multiple users tweeted that the concert was “lit;” there was even a video of Travis Scott jumping off the stage onto the floor where reportedly 2,000 students were standing. According to Portis, only the first of this total with a wristband was permitted on the floor for safety concerns, and security would look for wristbands when directing students.
“I got at least 10 people thrown on me during spark but ay, best time I’ve had so far at UIC” tweeted @ItsZyanya, Zyanya Hernandez, a student at UIC.
However, it cannot be safe when the headliner jumps into a sea of students. When those on the main floor begin to leave, more were supposedly permitted into the venue to fill in gaps. It is uncertain whether this is true. However, one student observed otherwise. “When I left they were still letting people in but turned away people with backpacks or purses,” said Katerina Fiedler, a junior at UIC.
“Excited students still arriving – #SparkUIC – it’s going to be a great night!” tweeted by @UICStuAffairs at 6:40 p.m.
Reportedly, campus events typically take place on a Thursday night because SAB wants commuters to attend. It is understandable, but Thursday nights also encourage students to have withdrawals the next day. Since the event occurred on Sept. 1, some students decided to skip class on Friday and start off their long weekend early. They missed a day of learning, and they paid to be absent.
“Who’s going to that #sparkinthepark after party tho?” tweeted @Truly_Beauty_.
“My English teacher said for us to do our hw real quick before tomorrow so all we gotta do is get lit for #SparkInThePark” tweeted @remanlover.
On January 20, 2015, I came across a survey on the Spark Facebook page; it was a link to OrgSync, and I was asked to elect three music genres and two artist suggestions for consideration. However, I do not recall seeing Travis Scott or Young Thug on the list. According to Portis, reportedly, Travis Scott was a last minute decision because Future was on tour. The committee went down the list, and the rapper agreed. In addition, Portis said the survey was not sent to UIC’s Massmail; it was a Facebook exclusive.
In conclusion, I believe that Spark in the Park is a bit unorganized. Sometimes students’ feedback cannot be accommodated because they value the input of a select few, and it encourages students to be distracted from their educational goals within the first two weeks of the semester.
“How did we go from Kendrick Lamar to JCole to 21 pilots all the way to Travis Scott and Young Thug.. Lame af” said Jr Lopez.