J. Cole surprises crowd at Spark in the Park

Videography by Nicole Cardos


Doors open. Students run in. Promotional items are gone in minutes. And before we know it, the floor of the UIC Pavilion is filling up.

That was the scene at this year’s Spark in the Park, the free concert just for the UIC community, hosted by UIC Campus Programs and UIC Radio.

J. Cole

J. Cole tears it up at Spark in the Park. Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC Photo Services

It wasn’t long after doors opened that Spark staff ran out of wristbands that granted students access to the floor. A few lucky students who got there early and answered trivia questions won VIP passes, but the rest of the students continued to file into the Pavilion and fill up the seats.

More photos on UIC Facebook!

Students anxiously waited for the opening act, Bas, a hip-hop artist from Queens, New York. When Bas took the stage, the students cheered and jumped as the beats filled the Pavilion. For an artist whose debut album “Last Winter” was just released in April, he had a solid fan base at Spark.  It’s no wonder his album made it onto the Billboard 200 list. His live performance was well put together and he was the best artist to hype up the crowd before J. Cole.

Then the lights went out and the crowd started to roar as J. Cole took the stage.

Originally from North Carolina, J. Cole knew exactly how to work the crowd. Fans in the front reached out for him with all their might when he neared the edge of the stage. J. Cole’s energy is captivating and he gets his fans on their feet and gives new listeners an experience they’ll never forget.

The experience got even better for students — J. Cole had a surprise up his sleeve. He brought out Chance The Rapper, who performed at last year’s Spark in the Park. They built off each other’s presence to give the students an unbelievable show.  J. Cole tore it up playing songs like “Blow Up,” “Higher,” ”Lights Please” and “Crooked Smile.”

What did students think?

students pose for a photo

Waiting for the show to start at Spark in the Park. Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC Photo Services

“It’s great to see so many UIC students together and enthusiastic about something,” said Isaac Pineda, a student in liberal arts and sciences. “Seeing everyone here be so passionate made me extremely happy to be part of Spark.”

Engineering student Stephen Piller said, “J. Cole is one of the most talented and lively performers I know out there today; he was awesome tonight.”

“Spark in the Park this year was nothing short of amazing! This was definitely my favorite performance by far. UIC definitely knows how to start the semester right,” said Lexi Collins, LAS.

The excitement about Spark 2014 doesn’t stop here. Search the hashtags on Twitter or Facebook #SparkInThePark, #goUIC or #UICwow to see what students have to say!

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