The University of Minnesota’s Spring Jam is expanding this year with more popular artists, a bigger venue and an added concert.
And with these changes, the student-planned festival will have a ticketed headliner concert at Mariucci Arena, which is a change from recent years. Student Unions and Activities estimates the tickets will cost about as much as the 2013 homecoming concert, which cost students $20.
In the past, Spring Jam has culminated with a free show at Coffman Union. Many students say they would be willing to pay for the concert, depending on the artist.
Assistant director of student activities Erik Dussault said all five of this year’s performing acts will be higher profile than past years’.
The SUA surveyed students at campus events and online in the past year, and the results indicated that they would be willing to pay $5 to $50 to see a bigger-name artist. Nearly all money from ticket sales will go to pay the headliner’s performance fee and other costs associated with that concert, Dussault said.
SUA’s Program Board marketing coordinator Ashley Herink said student feedback from last year’s festival was a factor in deciding this year’s lineup.
Though some students were dissatisfied with the weekend’s headliner, she said, Mat Kearney’s concert had a record number of attendees.
“Yes, last year we did get backlash, and … we understood why people got upset,” she said. “But at the same time, the Mat Kearney concert was the best-attended concert we’ve ever had.”
English sophomore Danielle Holte said last year’s performance wasn’t a good fit.
“I like Mat Kearney; I think he’s a good artist, but I didn’t think he was appropriate for Spring Jam,” she said.
Holte said she wouldn’t pay $50 for a headliner concert, but $5 to $15 would be reasonable enough.
Political science junior Cora Bollinger said she wouldn’t mind paying for a ticket, depending on the artist, but she thinks prices should vary by seating.
“Fifty dollars would be a lot if it wasn’t reserved seating or anything like that,” she said.
There will be two levels of ticket pricing for Spring Jam’s headliner — one for general admission in the seats at Mariucci and another for floor access.
To make up for selling tickets to what was previously a free show, SUA added a free concert on the Thursday afternoon of Spring Jam week. SUA is calling this year the biggest Spring Jam to date.
The general public will have access to tickets as well, but Dussault said the festival is marketed only to students. It’s likely SUA will limit the number of tickets sold to the general public to ensure that mostly students attend, Dussault said, and SUA anticipates most of the public tickets will go to friends of students.
In past years, the headliner concert has been held at Coffman Union’s back plaza. Coffman’s Great Hall served as the backup venue, but Dussault said it wouldn’t have been big enough to hold the whole crowd.
Since SUA was planning on changing the backup venue, he said, it was logical to move the concert permanently to the arena.
“If we were going to look at having a rain backup site like Mariucci, the thought is why not just plan it as an indoor show,” he said. “It just allows a lot more stability and consistency in our planning as well.”
English junior Morgan Poulson said holding the concert at Mariucci is a better option than behind Coffman because she felt that space wasn’t large enough to comfortably hold all attendees.
“I know it gets really crowded out by Coffman, and it’s probably always better when you can actually have a seat,” she said.
Spring Jam will take place April 24-26. The artist lineup will be announced March 29, and tickets will go on sale soon after.