Spark in the Park lights up the night

More than 5,600 students and employees enjoyed the weather and free music at Spark in the Park. Photo: Joshua Clark

With the sun shining and temperatures comfortable in the low 80s, more than 5,600 students and employees enjoyed the weather and free music at Harrison Field Sept. 5 for UIC’s third annual music festival, Spark in the Park.

The crowd got a great free show, featuring headliners Childish Gambino and Santigold, plus Kids These Days and opener DJ KA$H. They could also pick up free water, energy drinks, gum and Spark in the Park sunglasses.

“I came to the event to see what’s going on and chill,” said senior Hassan al-Hiti. “It’s really cool that the school puts on a concert like this.”

UIC’s own DJ KA$H — aka Karan Thakkar, a senior in neuroscience — opened the festival, scratching some hip-hop and rap.

“It’s a great opportunity for him to play with some big names and a cool way to promote the school,” said Andy Hickey, a student in LAS watching the show.

Kids These Days, a Chicago-based band featuring two horns, a rapper, a blues-rock trio and a singer/keyboardist, followed DJ KA$H.

They got the crowd involved, directing them to wave their hands back and forth in rhythm as the sun began to set behind University Hall.

Next up was Santigold, a songwriter, producer and pop singer from Philadelphia, who was accompanied by costumed dancers and background musicians. At the end of her set, she called some students up to the stage to dance with her and the band.

“I came to see Santigold, I love her,” said sophomore Nicki Gollayan.

Childish Gambino is a triple threat: comedian, actor and musician.

UIC student Victoria Gatbunton went to the event just to see Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, who plays college student Troy Barnes on the NBC comedy series “Community.”

“I love it when he does his beat boxing on ‘Community,’” she said.

After the concert, freshman Yanni Kousiounelos gestured to the skyline.

“That makes my night right there,” he said.

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