Sean Kingston pumps up Spring Jam with electrifying performance


Angel Saldivar

During his performance of “Fire Burning,” Sean Kingston brought multiple students on the stage.

By Kiran Bond and Odeth Rubio

On Sunday, Sean Kingston took to the stage on the Main Quad to perform for the annual Spring Jam concert. The concert was free to all University students and took place at 2 p.m.

Though it was a cloudy and chilly afternoon, hundreds of students filed into the sectioned-off half of the Main Quad near the Illini Union. Friend groups stood near the stage, many excited for the performance.

The event was coordinated by the Illini Union, State Farm Center, the Illini Union Board and Star Course. 

Dany Farray, junior in Engineering, said this was his first Spring Jam and that he was excited to experience the concert environment. 

Oscar Benavides, sophomore in Media, said he was looking forward to Sean Kingston’s performance despite only knowing some songs.

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    The set began with a 45-minute opening act by DJ Ømkar. The crowd started to tighten up while Ømkar played party classics like “Call Me Maybe,” “Trap Queen” and “Replay.”

    Many in the crowd danced with their hands in the air as they moved their bodies to the music. 

    A second DJ took the stage for a while ahead of Kingston’s appearance. 

    Jessica Vargas, junior in LAS, said she came to Spring Jam for the first time because she didn’t know who the previous artists were. She said she did know Sean Kingston.

    Vargas was most excited to hear Kingston perform “Letting Go (Dutty Love),” her favorite song by him. Kingston did play this song. 

    Vargas said many should go to Spring Jam.

    “It’s a free event, why not,” Vargas said. 

    After a short delay, two event organizers came on stage to introduce Kingston. He walked on stage to cheers from the crowd. 

    Kingston opened his set with “Me Love.” Soon after, he called out his home country of Jamaica and said he was going to take the crowd to the country. 

    Kingston acknowledged his audience, saying that he knew they were college students who worked hard and that they deserved to party. 

    Kingston performed a cover of “Replay” by Iyaz, which was a pleasant surprise for some. Kingston is credited as a co-writer on the song. 

    Some fans enjoyed it when Kingston led the crowd in a chant of his name. Kingston yelled “Sean!” and the crowd replied with “Kingston!” 

    Kingston waited until later in his set to play well-known tracks like “Beautiful Girls” and “Eenie Meenie.” 

    Kingston then invited many fans on stage to join for a high-energy finale with “Fire Burning.” 

    Christopher Laporte, freshman in Business, said this was his favorite part of Kingston’s performance.

    “That was pretty cool. He was really good with getting the fans involved and the crowd,” Laporte said. 

    Farray agreed.

    “Getting the crowd involved is always great,” Farray said. “I really enjoy when artists interact with their fans.”

    Benavides said this action made Kingston stand out from other artists. 

    Throughout the concert, Kingston held the microphone to the crowd, signifying for them to sing along with him. He also regularly told fans to put their hands in the air. 

    Jerolds was looking forward to Kingston’s performance of “Fire Burning.” He said it was his favorite song and he liked Kingston’s performance of it.

    Kingston gave a high-energy performance for his final song and a lot of the crowd sang the lyrics to “Fire Burning” right back to Kingston as he sang.

    As “Fire Burning” ended, Kingston thanked the crowd for coming and continued to stay on stage with fans even as the crowd began to leave. 

    Andrea Garcia, sophomore in LAS, is a member of Star Course. 

    Garcia said Sean Kingston was chosen as the performer for this year’s Spring Jam because he was one of the top three contenders from a poll list that was sent to students earlier in the year. The poll asked individuals to choose artists from the long list of artists who could possibly come to Spring Jam.

    Laporte is a committee member of the Illini Union Board. He said his favorite part of helping with the event was working with other members of the board.

    “It’s just working with each other and trying to figure out how to make Spring Jam bigger and better,” Laporte said. 

    Laporte said his favorite part of the event was seeing the success of an event he helped with flourish. 

    “It’s fun to see it all come together,” Laporte said.

    Jerolds believes Kingston’s uniqueness is what makes him stand out from other artists. 

    “I think he’s got a pretty unique sound, and definitely, there’s a lot of nostalgia with it too,” Jerolds said. 


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