Spring Jam 2015: The Possible Catalyst for Changing Our Annual Tradition

Image via MN Daily

Image via MN Daily

I’m probably not the best person to talk about Spring Jam. In my three years at the University of Minnesota, I only attended Spring Jam my freshman year. For two big reasons, I find it harder as I grow older to spend even $20 to justify a weekend spent in Mariucci’s parking lot. Maybe that makes me just the guy to stop drinking the Kool-Aid and start talking about how we can reclaim a once remarkable event.

Image via UMN Student Unions & Activities

Image via UMN Student Unions & Activities

Cost has never been an issue. I’ve spend far more than $20 to attend concerts, events, and to support my favorite artists. One of the main problems of Spring Jam is that I wouldn’t pay $20 to see anyone in the 2015 line up. Even as a hip-hop/rap fan I don’t want to see YG, the headliner, live. His success has relied almost exclusively on riding the coat tails of bigger names. If the headliner carries the only national name recognition in the lineup and is less than desirable to begin with, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the musicians selected to be in the festival.

Image via Star Tribune

Image via Star Tribune

Beyond the music, over 5000 people could ride zip lines, play Qudditch, or satisfy their hunger by visiting food trucks from local restaurants.  On paper, everything looks perfect. The hard asphalt in Dinkytown tells a different story. Twenty dollars gets you past the curtain of security and behind the curtain lays an absolute zoo. I’ve had my fair share of less than sober weekends, but some of the people at Spring Jam drink and debauch like it’s their last day on Earth. Some people may feed off of this sort of energy, but I am not them and I know I’m not alone. The largest issue with Spring Jam is the people who ruin it for others. 

By no means do I want to see Spring Jam go away. If that were to happen, we’re no better than Iowa State with Veishea a few years ago. More notable, popular names in the lineup could go a long way to boost interest, and any increase in cost would surely be justified. Addressing the issues of concert etiquette and acceptable behavior could also help create a more conducive and friendly atmosphere. If these strategies were to become reality, it might just be enough to convince my friends and me to spend some time and money on a weekend that we won’t fully remember.

By Mitchell J. Cress

Scott MeyerComment