This year, Spring Fling will no longer take place in the Quad, Penn's Social Planning and Events Committee announced on Jan. 28.
This change marks a break from 45 years of Spring Fling history and shortens the festivities to a single day in Penn Park instead of over two days spread over the Quad and a main stage. This shift especially affects students in performing arts groups, who traditionally perform during Fling festivities in the Quad.
The news of Fling's structure change prompted several student performing arts groups to raise the question of whether they will have a chance to perform during Fling at all.
Mask and Wig Secretary-Treasurer and College senior Ethan Fein said playing during Fling was one of the club's "favorite gigs."
"We also enjoy seeing other groups perform in the Quad in a sort of low-pressure but high-energy environment," Fein said.
While SPEC has not released details about student groups performing at Fling this year, Fein said he has concerns that "groups will have less time, or not as many groups would get to perform."
Wharton sophomore Linda Ashmead, one of the SPEC Fling directors who helped make the decision to move festivities out of the Quad, told 34th Street Magazine that SPEC "hope[s] to increase turnout and promote a stronger collaboration between SPEC Spring Fling and SPEC Concerts."
Bloomers Musical Director and College junior Becca Lambright said that she is "a little apprehensive" because the previous two-day structure allowed groups to have twice as much time to schedule gigs in the Quad.
College senior Karis Stephen, who performed at Fling last year with her musical project Eleven and is a member of Counterparts, said she thinks this change will benefit performing groups.
"I think it will be a positive change in terms of the performance lineup," Stephen said. "This new way will inevitably draw more attention for those who are performing, since Penn students can just spend one whole day in Penn Park and hop from performance to performance."
Lambright noted that the distance between Penn Park and the rest of campus may be a logistical challenge when transporting sound systems and equipment to the new venue.
However, Lambright said she also looked forward to possibly performing in Penn Park. She said a setup similar to Skimmerfest, which also takes place in Penn Park, can accommodate more people.
She also noted that this year's Spring Fling may be less disruptive to freshmen who reside in the Quad.
"I know for freshmen who lived in the Quad, it's super obnoxious to have Fling there because they can't take a nap or can't do their work because it's really loud," Lambright said.
Students noted that the new structure of Fling may affect the way students will schedule their activities.
College sophomore Johnny Vitale, who has performed in the Quad during Spring Fling with his band and is a member of Mask and Wig, said that on the first day of Fling, students often chose between festivities in the Quad and conflicting events.
"Maybe someone would rather go to a darty than go to QuadFest," Vitale said. "Now that it's all in one place, people can more easily schedule and then they have more time on other days to go to different parties and stuff."
Lambright, however, questioned whether concentrating events into one day will actually appeal to students.
"When it's all one day at Penn Park, it's kind of a trek, so people probably won't want to go home and come back," she said. "They probably don't want to be there the whole day, so I'm a little curious to see if [the changes] will actually help attendance."
When asked about the change, 2008 College graduate Alex Distell said performing in the Quad with Mask and Wig was a defining moment of his Penn experience.
"[Penn Park] is not going to evoke the same emotion as going into the Quad does," Distell said. "A lot of people used to live in the Quad, they have a lot of emotional nostalgic attachment to it … that's like part of the DNA of Spring Fling."
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