Ball State students camp out between the McKinley garage and Sursa Performance Hall for Air Jam tickets since 7 a.m. Wednesday. Tickets will go on sale at 8 a.m. on Thursday. Grace Ramey // DN
Ball State students camp out 24 hours before Air Jam tickets go on sale
The grass that runs along the sidewalk between the McKinley parking garage and Sursa Performance Hall housed a cluster of students for more than 24 hours.
Starting at 7 a.m. on Oct. 5, students pitched tents, spread blankets and brought food in preparation for the long night ahead of them. They camped out so they can secure Air Jam tickets, which went on sale at 8 a.m. the following morning.
This is the last chance for some students like senior child development major Hannah Sauer to attend the show.
Tickets for Air Jam cost $15 and can be puchased at Sursa Performance Hall's box office.
Air Jam will be on October 20 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
"Especially because it's my senior year, I really want to get a good spot in Air Jam because it's one of the biggest things for Homecoming," said Sauer. "We just wanted to make sure we were up close and we could see everything and, like, have all that excitement."
Sauer arrived at 7:30 a.m. and camped out for 20 hours with her sorority sisters, who will be supporting Alpha Gamma Delta with their Air Jam partner Lambda Chi Alpha.
Due to construction at John R. Emens Auditorium, Air Jam will have a limited amount of seats and is being split into two shows, one starting at 7 p.m. and the other at 9 p.m. Because of the popularity of the event and the limited space, groups are no longer allowed to purchase tickets in bulk like they were in the past.
Instead, each person in line had the ability to purchase a maximum of 10 tickets, sparking the unprecedented campout. Competing groups sent anywhere from two to five people to wait for tickets to go on sale and purchase as many tickets as they can.
DeHority Complex sent a group of five students this year to purchase 50 tickets. A group of 16 students who live in the residence hall will be competing this year and are encouraging other students who live in DeHority to come support them.
Sydney Brundige, a sophomore art major with a focus in drawing, began since 7 a.m. with the DeHority group — she isn't going to let limited seating get in the way of her second Air Jam.
"It's a lot of fun. There's a great energy," Brundige said. "Last year, we were able to sit in the balcony and just feeling the energy of the crowd and like everybody cheering and getting really excited when their team came up. It was a lot of fun, and it will be just as fun this year, even with a low amount of seating."
Each group took their own approach in determining who will wait for tickets and how long. Reigning Greek Champions Pi Kappa Phi and their partnering fraternity Delta Sigma Pi rotated members who signed up to camp for a specific hours at a time, said Hunter Schubert, a senior legal studies major and member of Pi Kappa Phi.
As the day went on, the groups started to meld together, walking from place to place to talk to each other, listen to music and share food.
After nine hours of waiting in line, the students waiting to purchase Air Jam tickets have started making themselves at home by bringing corn hole, radios, inflatable furniture, hammocks and canopies to their makeshift campsite at Sursa Performance Hall.
The DeHority group has secured their spot as second in line for tickets and sophomore Isaac Spillman, a telecommunication and audio production major, is on his second shift.
"I've been doing a lot of homework. The weather is really nice," Spillman said. "We have a hammock out here, so it's been nice to sit in the hammock and just chill here."
Behind his campsite, students are coping with the wifi-free environment by setting up cornhole, playing Uno, and tossing a football around. The line has grown steadily throughout the day, taking up even more space in the grass.
Even groups toward the back of the line are staying positive.
Ball State Dance Marathon's group showed up at 8 this morning, but because they wanted to purchase 60 tickets and did not have six people to wait in line, they couldn't secure their spot until 2 p.m.
"I think that the changes they made might have upset some people, but I think it's worth it," Morgan Polizzi, a junior majoring in public relations, said. "We're really happy that they at least made the changes they did to include as many organizations as possible, and we're just happy to be able to watch our organization perform."
A short rain shower didn't stop students from bringing technology to keep them occupied. Once the groups discovered a wifi source other than the one provided by Ball State, they used it to keep themselves occupied.
"We have the little pop tent, and I don’t even know how they figured out how to power it, but we do have an Xbox and a TV in addition to ample seating, so this is actually nicer than my apartment," said senior Dustin Meeks, a political science and public communications major.
In order to accommodate for their lavish setup, Meeks' Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers decided to use water bottles to keep their place in line and move their camp to the other side of the sidewalk.
"We have a colony over there. That is America, this is England — let's put it that way," Meeks said.
In other parts of the line, students can be seen sprawled out on inflatable mattresses or sleeping bags on their phones. In the middle of the line is a canopy with several different fraternities and sororities listening to music, playing video games, and using social media.
Tricia Roberson, a junior marketing major, confessed, much to her friends' embarrassment, "I Tindered for a little bit. I'm being honest! I swiped left on a lot of them."
At the front of the line, Pi Beta Phi is enjoying a simpler set up, sitting outside their single person tent looking at the stars, sharing stories, and trying to keep their phones from dying.
"I've been here since 9 p.m., and I will be here until 3 a.m.," said Audrey Clark, a junior legal studies major. "I don’t have a charger, and I'm at 77 percent, and I'm probably going to be on my phone the entire time, so once it dies down, I'm going to be really sad."
While some are still trying to keep themselves awake, anxiously awaiting the next shift to come and let them go home, things are starting to calm down for those who will be staying the night.
The growth of the line has all but stopped as students are calming down for the night. Some are able to sleep in the comfort of their own tents while others are forced to share with other groups or lay outside all night.
The majority of the students do not seem to plan on sleeping, however, there seems to be an unspoken agreement to be respectful of those who are. Students have taken to quieter activities such as Netflix, video games, or homework.
In fact, freshman Brandon Phelps, a telecommunications major, signed up for a shift purely to finish homework and hang out with other members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Phelps arrived around 1 a.m. and will be holding a spot in line until 4 a.m.
In most groups, there is at least one student that has been in line for the majority of the day, and they can attest to the fact that it has been a long 17 hours.
"I'm about to pass out, but we're laughing and having fun, so it's making it easier," sophomore Morgan Corle said.
Corle is waiting with the Ball State Dance Marathon group and is among those who have spent the most time waiting in line. After arriving at 2 p.m., a short break for a meeting at 7 p.m., and then returning at 10:30 p.m., Corle has still not lost her spirit. Although exhausted, she is still able to make the best out of the night with her friends.
At 6:30 a.m. she and many others in line will pick up their camps and prepare to purchase their Air Jam tickets at 8.
8 a.m., Oct. 6
Campsites have been abandoned after the 20-hour wait has ended. Students have left their once lively site, now barren with full trash cans, halfway broken down tents and folding chairs, as the students have moved on to their final line.
At 7:30 this morning, the students were allowed to enter the box office and begin purchasing tickets. The line stretched the wall of Sursa Performance Hall, and those standing in it looked a lot different than those leaving it.
Freshman sports administration major, Connor Morton had spent almost the entire 20 hours waiting outside with his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta. At 8:05 a.m., box office workers speculated that the line was halfway through, at which time Morton had finally made it to the middle of the line.
Even though he is longing to get more than 2 hours of sleep and has to take a midterm exam today, Morton does not regret camping out all night.
"It was totally worth it. I got to bond with my brothers, and it was a good time," Morton said. "I made a late night Walmart run for some food, had some good times, told some good jokes and got a little bit of sleep."
Walking out of the line, tickets in hand, Emily Stevens, a senior studying elementary education, was happy to be headed home after the long night. Her group was purchasing 30 tickets and, because they were toward the front of the line, had no problem getting them.
At the very back of the line, however, a group of four roommates who were caught off guard by the line weren't feeling too confident about being able to purchase tickets.
"We didn't think it would be this packed. There are way more people here than I thought would be," said junior Allie Wendeo, a speech pathology major.
By 9 a.m., however, all of the groups in line had gotten their tickets and still left some for other students wanting to attend. After waiting in line for nearly a full day, the groups must now wait until Oct. 20 for this Homecoming event.