Remembrance Meets Rager: Juice Jam 9/11
In a crowd of several thousand students today, one student waved an American flag to the beat of the music. The rest of the crowd raised their hands in the air and jumped up and down to the house music set of Sweden’s Avicii. On a sensitive day for many Americans, University Union decided to hold Juice Jam on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The organization honored the national day of service with events like a food drive, and a portion of the ticket profits were donated towards famine relief in the Horn of Africa (the first charity project for SU’s “Better Together” campaign). But with drunk students bumping and grinding in bathing suit tops to electro-pop, it still didn’t seem appropriate.
The benefit concert featuring Chiddy Bang, Avicii and B.o.B. sold approximately 7,000 tickets, according to Kenny Consor, co-director of concerts for University Union. But people did not seem to be there to support the benefit. With the biggest crowd Juice Jam has ever had, the event might be called a success. Gazing into the crowd, you might have noticed some patriotic outfits here and there, but most students seemed to be there just to party.
Many students came for Avicii, but although his set started off energetic, it dragged on for two hours. “Avicii got boring but B.o.B. was more high energy,” sophomore Mary Panella said. “It kinda sucked [B.o.B.] came on so late.” Of all three artists, B.o.B. was the only one to mention the concert’s charity initiative. He also had the crowd begin a “USA” chant, and asked everyone to cheer for those who lost their lives ten years ago.
University Union made a solid effort to spread the word about Juice Jam being a benefit concert this year. There was a booth in Schine all last week for students to drop off canned food that would be distributed to local food pantries (the focus for the “Better Together” initiative on our campus is fighting hunger) and in return gracious students received free shirts and swag. Consor announced to the crowd that their donations filled an entire truck.
There were some who felt the benefit concert was done well. Jona Cano, a sophomore from New York City was glad they talked about “the elephant in the room” at the beginning of the concert. Ten years ago, Cano almost lost her parents in the tragedy and her mom’s office was destroyed. “It’s better than sitting at home and moping,” Cano said. In a twisted way, Juice Jam was a positive distraction for students who struggle with this day. You might have coped by watching the news coverage of the Ground Zero ceremony, or maybe by dancing your ass off to electronica. To each his or her own mechanism, but we all know one thing is certain: we all had to cope somehow, and will have find ways to cope for years to come.