Joke Issue: Spring Fling concert moving indoors amid security concerns
New lottery for tickets in Irvine will open Tuesday
March 30, 2014, 8:51 pm · Updated March 31, 2014, 1:22 pm·
If you want to Fling on Franklin Field, you might want to petition the Social Planning and Events Committee to bring back Girl Talk.
Due to security concerns, David Guetta will be performing the Spring Fling concert in Irvine Auditorium. Students who purchased floor tickets after winning them in last week’s lottery will be refunded, and a new lottery will open Tuesday to distribute tickets for seats in Irvine.
SPEC Concerts’ Co-Chair Ben Jones, a College senior, said SPEC leaders decided to relocate the concert — including the opening acts by bands Magic Man and Ra Ra Riot — from Franklin Field to Irvine after reviewing security requirements in Guetta’s contract.
“Originally, we thought we could accommodate our contractual obligations and still host [Guetta] at Franklin Field,” Jones said. “But following the security measures required to host such a high-profile artist would be considerably simpler in a more controlled environment, so we ultimately chose to relocate the concert.”
Measures required by Guetta’s contract include metal detectors for all attendees and pat-downs for any attendee deemed “suspicious” by security staff. Metal detectors will be stationed at the entrance to Irvine, and a staff of around 50 security guards will monitor the concert, in addition to the usual measures taken by Penn Police in past years.
The capacity of Irvine Auditorium will also restrict the number of students able to attend the concert.
The auditorium seats only 1,260 students — approximately the same number of students who normally hold floor passes for Franklin Field concerts. Around 1,100 floor tickets were sold in 2012 when Tiesto headlined the Spring Fling concert.
Jones said that SPEC considered replacing the headliner rather than relocating the Fling concert. He said that he went as far as contacting John Legend and drafting a new contract for Legend to headline Fling in place of Guetta.
However, Jones decided to solicit input from all members of SPEC Concerts. The entire staff of the committee deliberated together before the final decision was made.
Jones attributed the quick turnaround time in getting Legend to agree to perform to Penn President Amy Gutmann’s close personal friendship with the singer. Legend will be this year’s Commencement speaker and performed at the Time to Shine celebration event in Penn Park in 2013.
SPEC rejected its backup plan in favor of retaining a less nepotistic headliner. “In the end, we concluded that students would rather have David Guetta in Irvine than John Legend on Franklin Field,” Jones said.
SPEC is planning to offer a live stream of the concert for students who cannot attend in person due to the capacity restrictions. University officials said that they are working to clear space from the university-wide server so that no student gets a 404 error or encounters other difficulties in accessing the live stream.
The University’s server has been known to crash during high volume times, like when regular decision admissions decisions are released. SPEC expects the traffic to be about as heavy as on regular decision admissions day, which sees about 30,000 people logging onto Penn’s server at once.
Jones said he is disappointed to see his term as co-chair end in a way he knows will upset students. “After last year, we really wanted to put together a concert that would have popular support with the student body,” he said. “I’m still hoping that the students who can attend in person at Irvine will have a really great Fling experience.”