Mason Ramsey (photo by Nick Swift for Big Loud Records)
It's been a year since preteen singer Mason Ramsey went viral with his adorably twangy rendition of Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues,” performed in the aisles of a southern Illinois discount store.
Now the so-called "Walmart Yodel Kid" is due to take the stage as the opener at the University of Minnesota’s annual Spring Jam concert on April 26. Organizers are prepared to entertain up to 7,200 concertgoers — the capacity of the parking lot north of Mariucci Arena where the concerts will take place.
“We often get requests for country," said Marissa Suiter, who oversees the student board that plans Spring Jam, "When we realized Mason Ramsey was going on tour and we had an opportunity to book him, it made a lot of sense.”
Ramsey, 12, has had an exciting year since the internet catapulted him to fame. He signed with Big Loud Records and the Atlantic label. He appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." His debut single, “Famous,” made the Billboard Hot 100 chart (peaking at No. 62). He performed at big festivals including Coachella and Stagecoach. And he amassed nearly 2 million Instagram followers.
Still, the choice of Ramsey as Spring Jam's opening act was met with mixed reviews.
“the fact that mason ramsey is playing umn spring jam is the best thing I’ve read all day,” one excited Twitter user wrote.
“If UMN Spring Jam 2019 is headlined by Mason Ramsey, I’m out. Don’t send my diploma in the mail, I don’t want it,” another student wrote on Twitter.
Atlanta party rapper Waka Flocka Flame will headline the event, which also features pop singer Ella Vos and rapper Jay Rock, along with carnival rides, free food, a beer garden and virtual reality games. Tickets — $25 for students, $40 for the general public — are available online.
“There’s so much to do at Spring Jam besides the music,” Suiter said. “It’s a really great way to end the year.”
Alex Smith is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.