Free music festival draws thousands to Harrison Field

Photos: UIC Creative & Digital Services and Amod Mahadik

More than 3,500 people celebrated the beginning of the new school year at Spark 2019 — UIC’s free, exclusive back-to-school music festival — Sept. 14 at Harrison Field.

Rapper 21 Savage headlined the event, which was sponsored by the UIC Center for Student Involvement, Student Activities Board and UIC Radio. Other performers included Cuco, UIC Battle of the Bands winner Skylight Cinema and UIC DJ Battle winner DJ Cease Days.

“This year’s Spark was a hit,” said Zoha Rizvi, a fourth-year student in neuroscience and sociology, and a member of the Student Activities Board. “It was the first time that the process was entirely student-led, and Spark 19 ended up being our largest-attended Spark ever.”

Freshman Maidiya Ouro-Sama was excited to attend her first Spark event at UIC.

“Meeting Cuco was pretty cool; he was pretty chill,” Ouro-Sama said. “My highlight was being right in front of 21 Savage. He is definitely one of my favorites — I practically listen to him every day. It was unreal to be 2 feet away from him.”

Since 2010, UIC has brought an eclectic mix of musical guests for UIC’s diverse campus to enjoy as a way to kick off the semester. Past headliners have included Lupe Fiasco, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, twenty one pilots, Travis Scott, Nick Jonas and H.E.R.

“Spark helps UIC students build a community and participate in a bit of UIC’s culture,” Rizvi said. “We tried to cater our concert to the general UIC public so that a majority of students could enjoy it, and based on our feedback, all our concertgoers had a good time. We’re glad that we could welcome students back to school with an exciting night.”

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Campus, Students