An over-hyped Cram Jam falls short

Cram Jam’s poor planning leaves students thirsty, hungry and exhausted – at a $96,000 plus tab.

Jay Sean was the anticipated performer at Cram Jam 2011, but for impatient students, he couldn't take stage quickly enough.

By Calvin Tiu

Jay Sean was the anticipated performer at Cram Jam 2011, but for impatient students, he couldn't take stage quickly enough.

“Vancouver!!! Are you ready for Jay Sean!?,” exclaimed the DJ excitedly as the crowd gathered around the stage at Royal King Palace for Cram Jam 2011. Hundreds of Kwantlen students anxiously screamed back while I thought to myself: “I do not believe we are in Vancouver at this particular moment.”

Security was top notch on Thursday, Sept. 8: frisking people as they came in; police cars and big tall men wearing shades creating the impression that this was going to be a concert to remember.

Having created catchy hits like “Down”, “Do You Remember”, and “2012”, Jay Sean has a legitimate fan base. Let’s not forget he’s also signed to Lil Wayne’s label Cash Money Records, which guides big artists like Drake and Nicki Minaj. All of the above promise a good show, but what’s a promising show when the host couldn’t keep its own promises?

I understand opening performances are not always going to be to be as good as the main event and are there only to build anticipation. But that in itself was the problem. Not only were the beginning acts off point, they hurt the overall vibe of the night. Several artists like Pretty Boy – though cheered on at first – failed to keep the crowd patient. Jay Sean was back stage. One act after another, the host desperately struggled to hold the crowd by promising that Jay Sean was to appear next, only to be followed by yet another lesser-known performer.

Overheating from all the bodies in the room and bored by what I had seen so far, my friends and I decided a cold beverage would be great before Jay Sean hit the stage. As we approached the food stand, two security guards, standing bold and proud, commanded us to step away. Only people 19-and-over were allowed to purchase anything. Any students 18-years-old and younger were restricted from using any snack money at Cram Jam – a nice “welcome to Kwantlen” for students straight out of high school.

Perhaps the 19-and-under food-and-water ban would have made sense if we were allowed to leave the Royal King Palace to purchase something somewhere else, but because of a strict “no ins and outs” policy, my friends and I were deprived of any food and water. Now that is not right at all.

By the time the main artist himself came out, I was hungry and tired. People still cheered, however the audience would have had enjoyed the performance more  if Jay Sean didn’t take over two hours to take the stage. As I looked around me, people seemed unimpressed. Jay Sean demonstrated charisma and powerful stage presence yet he seemed to scream his way through his songs. He jumped mindlessly while his original vocals crooned through the booming speakers. Being on crutches, I found it hard to stand so long. Security could have been more considerate in assisting me with finding a good place to watch.

As the show came to a close and I left the building, I was exhausted. Not from yelling and having a good time, but because I was accepting this was an average performance and event that was overhyped and terribly executed. Maybe at next year’s Cram Jam, drinking water will be legalized.