Indiana Daily Student

Mellencamp to play free concert today

Crowds, street closings anticipated for mid-day show

After recent surprise appearances in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and several other cities, John Mellencamp is bringing what has been called his "Good Samaritan Tour" closer to home.\nIt was announced Tuesday the Seymour, Ind., native will play a free concert at 1 p.m. today in Woodlawn Field, located at the intersection of 10th Street and Woodlawn Avenue. \n"This is an exciting, fun time to have Mellencamp back on campus," said Christopher Simpson, vice president for public affairs and government relations.\nThe announcement of the concert came as a surprise to many. \n"We learned about this when everyone else did," said Union Board President Mike Gosman. \nUB was contacted Tuesday and asked for committee members to serve as volunteer event staff, Gosman said, but added "this isn't our event in any way."\nThe first free, impromptu concert took place in Philadelphia Aug. 11. Mellencamp played a set of 10 songs to a few hundred onlookers, according to the official Web site, www.mellencamp.com. \nBut the more recent appearances have drawn considerably larger crowds. Approximately 15,000 people attended his Chicago concert ' a crowd police estimated to be the biggest assembled in Daley Plaza since the Bears' celebration of their 1986 Superbowl win, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.\nWith traffic in Bloomington already congested, the IU Police Department and Transportation Services are making efforts to ensure that everything flows smoothly around the intersection near where the concert will take place.\n"The best bet is to leave your cars at the stadium and ride the bus," said Kent McDaniel, assistant director of transportation services. "If everyone tries to drive in, no one is going to get there."\nMcDaniel said there will be no restrictions on parking at the Memorial Stadium today, and concert-goers may ride the Stadium Express bus or the A bus, both of which are free this week and will make special drops at or near the concert area.\nLt. Jerry Minger of the IUPD said it will restrict traffic on Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and 10th streets between Woodlawn and Indiana avenues. It will also close and barricade Woodlawn Avenue between Seventh and 10th streets.\nRepresentatives of both Mellencamp and the University met earlier Wednesday to discuss the possibility of moving the concert to a more accessible location that would not pose a crowd and traffic problem, said Minger and Simpson.\nDuring the meeting, Simpson said, "we realized there were great advantages to doing it in the heart of campus."\nThe concert is scheduled for mid-afternoon, a time at which many classes across the campus are scheduled to meet. Simpson said it was the only time Mellencamp could hold the show.\n"We left the timing up to (Mellencamp)," Simpson said. Between athletic events, club meetings and other campus happenings, "there are hundreds of conflicts with classes." \nHe said students were responsible enough to judge whether to attend the show, but added that if they do have a conflict, "we certainly expect them to be in class."\nGosman said, "I don't believe there are any hard and fast policies as far as when concerts take place," but that scheduling an outdoor concert during the afternoon on a class day "would be something that (the Union Board) would think about very seriously." \nDean of Students Richard McKaig said, "No one is encouraging (the students) to skip class. They will make the same choices as they do every day."\nThe volume of the concert should not be a problem, since the music will be broadcast at a "very low amplification," said McKaig. \nVolume has been a complaint at many of Mellencamp's impromptu concerts. Since the appearances are planned on very short notice, Mellencamp does not set up the elaborate sound equipment that is usually used at an outdoor concert.\n"With musical support consisting of a violinist and an accordion player and a few tiny speakers sprinkled in front of the minute temporary stage Mellencamp was on, the impromptu show ended up sounding more like an Appalachian music fest than a rock 'n' roll concert," wrote Richard L. Eldredge in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution of Mellencamp's recent performance at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta.\nAccording to www. mellencamp.com, Bloomington will be the final venue for Mellencamp's free acoustic concerts . \n"I\'m not promoting anything. I got no T-shirts for sale. This is just for you guys for supporting me for the last 25 years," he told the audience at a performance Aug. 18 in Detroit, according to the Detroit News. \n"John Mellencamp is a very close friend of Indiana University and an icon in Bloomington," Simpson said in a press release. "This free acoustic concert will be a great opportunity for our students to see Bloomington's favorite rock star."\nMellencamp was the commencement speaker at IU's ceremonies last May. He received an honorary doctorate for his achievements as a musician.

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