By Lisa Striffolino
Jason Derulo headlined the annual Party in the Park concert that was streamed virtually on Friday, March 26 for University of Tampa students.
The virtual concert was opened by Neon Trees who sang some of their top hits, including “Everybody Talks” and “Animal.”
Derulo performed from a private backyard stage in California, with a select amount of back-up dancers to assist him in his performance while he sang some of his own hits like “Riding Solo”, “Savage Love”, and “Talk Dirty”.
“I did not want an artist just sitting in a chair singing,” said Anna Kearns, sophomore biology major, concert chair for Student Productions. “Being that the concert was virtual, I needed an artist who was not only talented, but brought a unique and entertaining element to their performance. I had seen Jason Derulo’s virtual performances from other schools, and they were just so elaborate and fun to watch.”
This year, Party in the Park was streamed through SpartanNet. Although the artists were in their own studios for their performances, 30 VIP students (plus one guest each of their choosing), were able to join others on the ninth floor of Vaughn Center to watch through SpartanNet in a special VIP viewing event. These VIP students were chosen through winning giveaways posted by Student Productions on their social media accounts throughout the week leading up to the concert.
“I wanted to do the VIP Viewing Event to give students some form of normalcy when it comes to concerts, for I know concerts have been nonexistent in the recent year,” Kearns said.
The ninth floor of the Vaughn Center was decked out in pink and purple balloons, tablecloths, and other decorations. They provided pre-packaged meals like wraps and sandwiches available for students to enjoy, as well as several kinds of treats like cookies and rice-krispie treats. The first 50 students to show up at the VIP viewing event received a free Neon Trees mask, and there were Student Productions tote bags filled with light-up glasses, finger pointers, stickers, and a PITP shirt that were given out to every student at the event.
After the concert, another select amount of students were chosen to participate in a virtual meet and greet with Derulo, which consisted of a virtual photo-op and a short Q&A.
“For one, I have this amazing group of people that I work with,” Derulo said, when asked what he loved about being able to perform for UT. “Whenever we’re able to come together and share and vibe with y’all it’s always incredible. Just being able to have that sense of human connection during a year like this is incredible.”
To find out more about PITP, follow them on Instagram @utampapitp.