ROGERS PARK — Students and staff at Loyola University were "disappointed" when pop star Ke$ha announced she would cancel her tour — which included a stop at Loyola's Gentile Arena in March — for health reasons.
The artist entered rehab earlier this month to seek treatment for an eating disorder, according to reports.
"The students are of course understandably disappointed that [Ke$ha] isn’t able to [perform] as part of our spring lineup," said Leslie Watland, the university's program coordinator.
Watland said it took months to negotiate a deal with Ke$ha, the biggest name the school has ever booked to perform as part of its Colossus music and comedy festival scheduled for March 15-16.
Comedian Mike Birbiglia plans to perform March 16 and tickets are still available.
"Everyone was kind of shocked, like, wow, we got this big person," said Loyola freshman Andrea Rose, 18. "We didn’t really expect it."
A Ke$ha superfan, she said she bought her tickets within minutes of them going on sale. Within hours, all tickets — about 3,500, according to Watland — were sold out.
"I think it was kind of a let down," said Rose, who planned to go to Ke$ha's show with her friends.
Ke$ha, 26, released a statement this week, saying, "I was so looking forward to performing at these dates but I need to follow my doctor's advice and get my health back on track. All of your support during this time has been so amazing. I couldn’t have done this without you all. I look forward to coming back stronger than ever on the next tour."
Watland said the university pays a premium to book big acts at a small venue like Gentile Arena, with an occupancy of 5,000, and then sell tickets at a discount. Tickets for Ke$ha's show cost students only $12.
She said she was working to find a replacement act, but couldn't make promises.
"We haven’t come up with a replacement, and as of right now, I can't say it's feasible to say that we will," she said. "We probably won’t be able to secure another musical act in time, not of that caliber."
Watland said the university would refund ticket sales for the show and was in negotiations to bring Ke$ha back to the university in the fall.
But for now, she said, the students' "unprecedented excitement" has been muffled.