With wet orange hair, Mighty Mighty Bosstones lead singer Dicky Barret watched rain pour down Saturday night on hundreds of dancing youth. He lifted his eyes and smiled.
“I hope the rain keeps up,” he said, “so it doesn’t come down. I hope we can go on.”
It seems he got his wish. As The Living End, a punk band from Melbourne, Australia, finished their set, the rain stopped. Hundreds more fans streamed into parking lot C-37, across the street from Mariucci Arena, where the band Three Minute Hero had already played a 40-minute set on a five-foot high stage.
The concert, which brought together two bands touring nationally, and a local band, was the culmination of the week-long Spring Jam celebration.
“Part of the tradition back when Spring Jam was called the Campus Carnival, and it was a predominantly greek event; they had concerts too,” said Jessica Leach, a junior in the College of Liberal Arts and one of the event organizers. “Now, the show is like a grand finale.”
But underlying the party atmosphere of Spring Jam was a philanthropic purpose; the week of events raised money for Camp Heartland, a retreat center for children with HIV and AIDS.
“We expect to make between $15,000 and $20,000 for the camp this week,” said Andrew Leonard, the Coffman Union Program Council’s media liaison. Proceeds from Saturday night’s concert would also benefit the camp.
The rain kept attendance of Saturday’s show well below the organizers’ goal of 5,000. About 1,500 people who Barret called “the real deal” tolerated the downpour to attend the show.
“The rain kept the people who could give a fuck away,” cajoled Barret to the cheering crowd. “They could sit around the keg, or they could go … they stayed.”
The concert wasn’t the only Spring Jam event Saturday. The finals for the Ballyhoo dance competition, band competition and the X-treme Air ride — a wind tunnel that simulates skydiving — took place in front of Coffman Union during the day. But in the evening, people converged on the stage northeast of campus.
For Three Minute Hero, a Minneapolis-based band whose sound has been influenced by the aggressive ska of the Bosstones, playing on the same stage as the well-known band was a thrill.
“This is a barometer of how excited I am,” said Jeff Nelson, Three Minute Hero’s lead singer, pointing to his chest. “I spent the last five minutes looking for my vest … it’s on me.”
Three Minute Hero was also preoccupied with the weather. “It’s going to be like Woodstock, except instead of mud they’ll be throwing concrete,” said Nelson, referring to the parking lot venue.
Apparently not much concrete was thrown, the paramedics working at the event reported no serious injuries during the concert. Security was also heightened this year, prompted by last year’s fence-trampling stampede of fans who got in free to the Violent Femmes show.
“We wanted to be a little more proactive about security,” said Leonard. He said 10 University Police officers, a private security company and about 80 University volunteers were watching over the event.
And when the reverberating bass notes and mosh pit had vanished, and the bands left the stage at last, it appeared that most concert-goers had a good time.
“It was a great show, because you could get right up front,” said Amy Blume, a former University student who now lives in Mankato. “I’m soaking wet, not from the rain, but from all the sweaty boys.”
Although the program council sponsored the event, tickets sold for $14 in advance and $18 at the door. Organizers said the council receives its funding from student services fees.