State Farm Center hosts concerts during Homecoming Week

By Harrison Lindholm, Staff writer

Homecoming Week at the University of Illinois provides students and alumni with various activities every year, and this fall the State Farm Center will be hosting three nights of concerts in addition to the usual Homecoming events.

The University has long been a very popular venue for big name entertainment. In 1985, the first Farm Aid concert was organized by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young and took place in Memorial Stadium. Through the rest of the 80s and 90s, bands such as U2, Journey, R.E.M. and REO Speedwagon all played in Champaign to the delight of students.

Because of the renovations to the State Farm Center, concerts on campus have been limited to smaller venues such as The Canopy Club or Foellinger Auditorium for the last few years.

However, State Farm Center has opened in time to host three concerts, featuring Dierks Bentley, Pentatonix and The 1975.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, Dierks Bentley will perform with guests Randy Houser and Drake White and the Big Fire. Bentley is a recording artist from Arizona, and in more than a decade has had immense success in country music. He is known for hits including “Somewhere on a Beach,” “What Was I Thinkin’” and “Say You Do.”

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Maggie Olofson, junior in AHS, is going to the Dierks Bentley concert with two of her friends. Maggie, who has already seen Bentley at the Grand Ole Opry, has gone to around 20 country concerts in the past to see artists like Keith Urban and Tim McGraw.

Tickets for the concert are on sale now and range between $20 and $49.25. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 28 will bring The 1975 and special guest 070 Shake to Champaign. The 1975, an English rock band, released their first EP album in 2012, but did not reach international success until their self-titled debut album was released in 2013. Hits such as “Somebody Else,” “The Sound” and “Chocolate” feature creative lyrics and a unique sound.

Tickets for the concert can be purchased now and cost between $19.75 and $49.95. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the event starts at 8 p.m.

Finally, on Saturday, Oct. 28, after the Homecoming Game has finished, a cappella pop group Pentatonix will take the stage at the State Farm Center with special guests Us The Duo and Abi.

Pentatonix is a Platinum record artist from Arlington, Texas, that has been on the scene since 2011, when they won the television show contest The Sing-Off. Their YouTube channel has gathered over 1 billion views on videos of them singing covers of existing songs, medleys and original music. Some of their best-known songs include “Can’t Sleep Love,” a “Daft Punk” medley and an arrangement of “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy,” which won them a Grammy in 2016.

Matthew Giddens, junior in FAA, said that he has been to every concert that Pentatonix has had in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas.

“What I am looking forward to the most about the concert is that they are as good live as they are recorded. Since they are a cappella, there is no room for autotune or fakeness,” Giddens wrote in an email.

Tickets for the concert are on sale and range from $35 to $75. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.

Artists are lined up to play at the State Farm Center after Homecoming Week concludes, too. Already announced are concerts featuring Jason Derulo in December and Green Day in March.

Students can take advantage of the reasonable ticket prices, newly renovated venue and diverse selection of musical guests and enjoy concerts on campus. Olofson encourages students to go to the concerts, even if they are not already fans of the artists.

“Even if you don’t know any of the songs, at least you are having fun with your friends,” she said.

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