The Slow, Sad Decline of Spark in the Park: A Timeline

author-pic at Illinois (Chicago)  

Spark in the Park used to be the most anticipated event of the school year at UIC. The instant students were out of class the Thursday of Spark, they would begin pregaming in their dorms. The entire campus would buzz with excitement for the concert. Now, Spark in the Park is just as exciting as the unlimited Ventra card included with tuition.

Prior to 2014:

Spark in the Park boasted a plethora of talented acts, culminating in 2013’s lineup: Griz, Chance the Rapper, and Kendrick Lamar. All three performers were at the forefront of their respective genres; Kendrick and Chance even went on to be Grammy-winning artists. 2013 was also the last true Spark “in the Park,” with “the Park” falling victim to UIC’s incessant construction problem.

2014:

Spark moved inside to the UIC Pavilion, prompting a tumultuous uproar from the student body. Complaints ranged from “It’s not Spark in the Park if it’s inside!” to “I can’t smoke my blunt in the Pavilion, I’ll get popped!” The latter complaint drew attention to the overzealous security guards who work at the Pavilion , who constantly slack off until they find an excuse to tackle an 18-year-old. 2014 hailed a return to glory for rapper J. Cole as he snagged the coveted Spark in the Park headlining act.

2015:

It heralded the return of “Spark in the Pavilion” with Twenty One Pilots closing out the show.  For the first time in recent memory, UIC picked a headliner that actually played real instruments. Twenty One Pilots bounced around the stage like freshmen trying ecstasy for the first time while security bounced students out of the venue. Fans praised the school for selecting “not a rapper,” but once again Spark left the crowd disappointed for being cooped up in the Pavilion.

2016:

Spark in the Park remained in the Pavilion once more, but this time with some flair. The acts chosen for Spark were Travis Scott and Young Thug, two popular rappers who fit the bill after UIC was unable to book Future for this exclusive event. Fans flocked to the Pavilion to decipher Young Thug’s “lyrics” in person and continued to go wild during Travis Scott’s set. The aforementioned security guards were cracking down hard on admittance and cut off access to the general admission pit; however, luck was on your side if you had a $20 bill, as the guards weren’t paid enough to turn down bribes.

2017:

“Spark” is finally going to be reunited with its other half: “the Park.” However, returning Spark in the Park to its former glory would be too logical for an institution such as UIC. It had to be marred with some sort of downside. So UIC chose Nick Jonas as the headliner. In addition to selecting an artist nobody has heard of in a decade, UIC opened the event up to the public. While current students will still gain free admission via their student ID, UIC alumnae and guests can purchase tickets individually. Selling tickets to the public sounds like UIC is aware of how unpopular Spark has become, and instead of appealing to the student body that pays tuition, they appealed to 15-year-old girls.

So…see you this weekend, we guess.