Illini Union Board prepares to bring Spring Jam back to campus after two years

The+crowd+throws+their+drinks+around+during+Lil+Yachty+performance+at+the+2019+Spring+Jam+on+April+28.+This+year+rapper+Yung+Gravy+will+be+performing+at+the+Spring+Jam+on+April+24.+

The Daily Illini Photo Archive

The crowd throws their drinks around during Lil Yachty performance at the 2019 Spring Jam on April 28. This year rapper Yung Gravy will be performing at the Spring Jam on April 24.

By Aradhya Seth, Contributing Writer

After nearly two years of pandemic postponements, Spring Jam is returning to campus on April 24. Previous years saw Post Malone, Lil Yatchy and T-Pain as the Spring Jam artist, while this year popular American rapper Yung Gravy will take the stage on the Main Quad, performing popular songs like “oops!” and “Mr. Clean.” 

Spring Jam is a one-of-a-kind event hosted by a collaboration between the State Farm Center, the Star Course student concert committee and the Illini Union Board.

Illini Union board members explained how they plan on pulling the event together, especially post-pandemic, as well as how the process of choosing the artist goes. Students also shared their opinions on the choice of Yung Gravy as this year’s Spring Jam artist. 

The announcement was made Thursday afternoon in the Illini Union Court Yard. The Illini Union Board hosted an announcement party where lunch was served — gravy was the main dish — and a custom Wordle game that hinted at the artist was played.

Corey Elliot, senior in Media and the senior manager of Star Course had high hopes for the student response the revelation would enact.

“I think the students are gonna love the artist,” Elliot said. “We sent out a survey a few months ago, and we had a bunch of artists in that survey. Basically, we got the artist which had the top response.” 

Elliot said everyone at Star Course is pretty excited considering the long break since the last Spring Jam. He believes the vibes of the event will be overall positive. 

“The artist is bigger, the crowd is bigger and it’s outside,” Elliot said. “People love outside concerts, so yeah. I think we feel really good about it.”

Some students like Blanca Estrada, senior in Media, are similarly excited about the return of Spring Jam. Being a senior, Estrada is happy she can attend one final time. 

“I’m glad it’s happening again,” Estrada said. “I was a freshman when I experienced my first one, but I didn’t get to experience a Spring Jam after that.”

Kemi Orukotan, the director of arts on the Illini Union Board, said COVID-19 regulations will be minimal. As per University guidelines, masks won’t be required for the concert.

“There won’t be any restrictions since it’s an outdoor event,” Orukotan said. “So you don’t have to wear masks. We’re not keeping track of COVID, and we don’t have to see your app or anything.”

University students have mixed reactions to Yung Gravy being this year’s Spring Jam artist. 

Elenora Benedetti, sophomore in LAS, said Yung Gravy is more of an internet sensation than an artist.

“I’m not very familiar with his music,” Benedetti said. “He’s sort of one of those people that’s a little bit like a meme.”

Estrada recalled how some of her friends were not too sure whether they should be excited or not as they did not know who Yung Gravy was.

“I saw a few of my friends posted it on their Snapchats and they were a bit confused because they didn’t know who it was,” Estrada said. 

Mike McGee, senior in Business, said he is excited for Spring Jam. He, like Estrada, remembered the event happening his freshman year.

“I remember walking around the (Main Quad) and it was really busy with a bunch of people from all throughout campus who came to see it,” McGee said. “It was a pretty big event.”

McGee said he was more interested since Spring Jam is free for all students with i-cards. 

“Yeah, I would definitely consider going because it’s on the (Main Quad) and it’s free,” McGee said. 

Daniel Stein, senior in Business, said that even if students do not know who Yung Gravy is, they will still have fun.

“I think it would just be a fun event because I have no other expectations,” Stein said. “I think even if you don’t know Yung Gravy, you’re still gonna have a fun time.”

McGee explained that since there hasn’t been a concert in two years, students will be more excited to return to the stage on the Main Quad. 

“I think it has the potential to be a bigger turnout and get more excited because the last two years being COVID-19,” McGee said. “I think could probably be a lot bigger of a turnout just because of that.

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