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Spring Jam music performers take center stage

The annual one-day event took place Saturday.
Image by Eleanor King
Minneapolis-based band WHY NOT performs at Spring Jam on Saturday. Along with live music, the festival had a variety of activities including fair rides and food trucks

Spring Jam, the University of Minnesota’s annual festival that takes place every April, featured a variety of activities, with a special emphasis on the event’s live music.

The festival had multiple food trucks, fair rides and carnival games, along with several live performers ranging from national music acts to new student bands.

Battle of the Bands

The night kicked off with the five Battle of the Bands finalists who made it past the preliminary rounds held in February: Emily and the Space Butterflies, My Buddy Eric, The Gentlebrass, Honey Tree and Call Me Fritz. The headliners started at 7:15 p.m. and included Minneapolis-based trio WHY NOT, hip-hop duo Flyana Boss and the sibling duo BETWEEN FRIENDS.

Ashley Kaser, the program manager for Spring Jam, said the students who plan Spring Jam decide who headlines the event. The students research what’s popular on campus by having students fill out surveys in person and online. 

“Sometimes it’s over 50 performers that they say the campus could be excited about,” Kaser said. “Then they start researching and figuring out whether or not those performers are in budget, if they are available for our dates, and then also if they have new music out right now.” 

According to Kaser, eliminating the barrier of ticket prices for students allows for more to enjoy the event. Adding in more student-run booths and having all activities except for food free of charge for students opened opportunities for more students to participate. 

Katherine Magnuson and their friends came to Spring Jam to watch other friends play in Battle of the Bands and said the three headliners were an added bonus. 

“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to have bands come here without having to pay an extra fee to see them,” Magnuson said.

Before the headliners took to the stage, the winner of Battle of the Bands was announced. After what was described as one of the closest competitions in years, Call Me Fritz took home the crown.

The indie-rock trio started playing together in September 2023, according to Isaac McMullen, a vocalist and the guitarist for the group. The band formed when McMullen and vocalist and bassist Jonathan Kraemer, two friends who have known each other for most of their lives, started a group together. George Tepfer, the drummer, joined through mutual friends.

Despite the group being less than a year old, they intend to “load up the summer with shows” and play as much live music as they can, according to Tepfer. He added winning the final battle at Spring Jam was a great opportunity for the band to share their music with a wider audience.

“I was so glad that we got to share our music with people and play with these other great bands and just be in this atmosphere with all these people,” Tepfer said. “It was awesome.” 


The first headliner of the night, WHY NOT, met in middle school and released their first album before any of the three members could drive. Going from their humble beginnings to being an established band in Minnesota is “the best thing [the band] could ask for,” said Joshua MacGregor, the drummer for the band.

WHY NOT has performed for colleges before, but not quite at Spring Jam’s scale, MacGregor said.

“I didn’t know how big of a deal Spring Jam was,” MacGregor said. “I posted on my story like, ‘Playing Spring Jam tonight!’ and so many people were like, ‘Oh my God, you’re playing Spring Jam?’ It definitely feels really cool, it’s a really cool event.”

Flyana Boss

The second headliner, Flyana Boss, is made up of Bobbi LaNea Taylor and Folayan Omi Kunerede, two performers who met in music school in California. 

Taylor and Kunerede, best known for their electric stage presence and style, knew upon meeting each other and forming Flyana Boss that they wanted to bring hammy theatrics to their music sets, Taylor said.

Belle Garcia, a student at the University, is a fan of Flyana Boss and thought Spring Jam was a great way to get to see them.

“I really like them,” Garcia said. “So seeing them live for free is really nice.”

The duo has played for multiple college campuses throughout April, and Kunerede said the college-aged demographic has more energy than the average crowd. 

Taylor added there is a unique community aspect to college events like Spring Jam.

“Everybody has their tribes and communities within the school, and they all come to the shows together, so I love that,” Taylor said.


The final headliner, BETWEEN FRIENDS, is made up of siblings Brandon and Savannah Hudson. According to Savannah, the two knew they loved music and wanted to do it ever since they could speak. 

Similar to WHY NOT and Flyana Boss, BETWEEN FRIENDS has played several college-aged events before. Savannah said festivals like Spring Jam are a good way for them to connect with their current fans while still getting the chance to meet new people their age

Similar to Flyana Boss’ sentiment, Brandon said performing on college campuses brings a different kind of energy, and this year’s Spring Jam was no different. 

“I love coming and performing for schools and seeing all of you guys,” Brandon said. “It feels like ideal demographic and it feels very friendly and welcoming and exciting and, yeah, I really love the energy of doing these shows. I hope we can come back soon.”

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