Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Free Blarney concert sees decline of 3,000 attendees from last year

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Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

A free concert featuring R&B pop singer Jason Derulo, indie pop duo Capital Cities and hip hop group Migos was held at the Mullins Center Saturday morning.

The concert was held on the same day as Blarney Blowout, an annual series of drinking parties held on the first Saturday of March by University of Massachusetts students. This was a repeat of last year’s effort to deter students from forming large drinking parties at off-campus apartments.

The concert had roughly 3,200 people in attendance this year, about half as many who attended last year’s “Bring the Spring!” concert which featured rappers Ludacris and Juicy J, and singer Kesha.

“The concert is part of a larger planning process,” said Enku Gelaye, the UMass vice chancellor of student affairs and campus life, at a press conference held in Amherst Town Hall on Saturday. “To get thousands programmatically is a big deal,” she said, referring to the number of students in attendance at Saturday’s concert.

Gelaye also addressed claims that the lower attendance numbers at this year’s concert were a result of UMass students’ lack of familiarity with the artists.

“We’ll do more next year to get artists who resonate more with students,” she said.

In the week prior to the concert, the performing acts were gradually announced on the UMass Student Government Association’s Facebook page. The final act to be released, Jason Derulo, was announced on the page after a few days’ delay.

Gelaye said that the rollout announcement was a decision made by students in the SGA.

“I believe it played a role in drumming up interest and building anticipation for the program,” she said.

A press release sent by the UMass Office of News & Media Relations at 5 p.m. on Saturday said that the Amherst Fire Department and UMass Emergency Medical Services treated three people at the concert, and one was brought to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton to be treated for intoxication.

At last year’s concert, 19 students were treated at the concert, said the release.

Students in attendance at the Saturday concert said that they were attracted to it by the free entrance to the event and by the performing acts.

Anarose Hogan, a freshman studying communications disorders, said that she would have spent the day studying if she had not gone to the concert.

“I went to the concert because it was free,” she said. “I would not have gone otherwise.”

Erika Gildea, a freshman studying biology, said that she was motivated to go to the concert by her friends’ attendance and due to the free nature of the event.

“I would have went to the Townehouse (Condominiums) instead,” she said.

Ian Yenal, a sophomore studying resource economics, said that he attended the concert because he is a fan of one of the groups performing, Migos, and that he would have enjoyed the day with his friends if he had not gone to the concert.

Freshman civil engineering major Madison Gleason was motivated to attend the concert by another one of the performers, Jason Derulo. She said she would have been studying for her midterm exams if she had not gone.

Tom Isabel, a building and construction technology major who transferred to UMass, said that the concert represented a social opportunity for him.

“This is a great atmosphere to meet new friends and have a great time,” Isabel said. “The reputation of Blarney speaks for itself.”

Stuart Foster can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @Stuart_C_Foster. Patrick Finnigan can be reached at [email protected]

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