An electric Fling to pair Passion Pit and Tiësto
SPEC announces Tiësto as Fling headliner earlier than planned due to leak
March 15, 2012, 12:15 am · Updated April 10, 2012, 12:04 am·
The Social Planning and Events Committee announced Thursday that Tiësto will headline this year’s Spring Fling concert.
SPEC Concerts released that Passion Pit will be the concert opener online at whoscomingtofling.com Wednesday at noon. After an initial countdown, a link to YouTube featuring Passion Pit was posted on the website with word that the electro-pop group will be coming to Penn.
While SPEC was initially planning to announce Tiësto — a popular producer of electronic dance music — as the headliner early next week, it was forced to bump the release date up following a leak by Wharton junior Jacob Schulman. At around 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Schulman posted on Dancing Astronaut — the electronic music online publication of which he is editor-in-chief — that Tiësto would be coming to campus.
Schulman said his source for the information was his “friends in the electronic music industry,” who are unaffiliated with SPEC.
“I have been sitting on the information for at least two weeks now,” he said. “When you have an artist like Tiësto whose following is so global and so central to our readership, this was something I couldn’t avoid.”
SPEC Concerts Co-Director and Wharton junior Julia Sternfeld expressed frustration that the headliner was leaked early.
“It was disappointing because our committee members put a lot of effort into planning the release,” she said.
SPEC Concerts Co-Director and Wharton junior Chase Baxter agreed, but added that the immediacy of student reactions to the premature announcement was encouraging.
“Our main motive was to use an alternative web-based method of release to try and reach the student population,” he said. “We will most likely continue incorporating that into our work in the future.”
Throughout the day on Thursday, Baxter said SPEC plans to “bombard” students on Locust Walk with visuals — including chalk and banners on Greek houses — about Tiësto.
Despite SPEC’s effort to build up hype around the Spring Fling performance lineup, this year’s announcement did not come as a surprise to many Penn students.
College sophomore Sophia Fischler-Gottfried found out about Passion Pit through her sorority listserv.
“I was not too disappointed that the news leaked, because I haven’t really been at the edge of my seat wondering,” she said.
Other students were irked by SPEC’s alternative announcement methods.
“It would have been nice if the artists were announced in a more formal way instead of just a mere post online,” College junior Chris Sfedu said.
Last year, SPEC announced Ratatat as an opener through a campus-wide scavenger hunt, and Flo Rida through a Penn Band and Penn Glee Club performance of “Club Can’t Handle Me.”
“How SPEC announced this year was better — after a certain point, a scavenger hunt is just tedious,” College and Wharton sophomore Shruti Shah said.
Regardless of the new announcement methods, Baxter believes this year’s concert will draw a huge audience.
“According to SPEC’s mid-year survey, students overwhelmingly requested electronic dance music on campus,” he said. “We really wanted to bring an electronic act to Penn, but also wanted the aspect of a live performance as well, so we thought Passion Pit would complement Tiësto in that regard.”
Student reactions have been somewhat mixed.
“If you’re interested in Tiësto’s genre, he’s about as good as you get,” Wharton junior Brett Levine said.
College sophomore Nicholas Cernek, however, “ardently disapproves” of SPEC’s choice of performers this year.
“I don’t understand why they chose them,” Cernek said. “Spring Fling is a show that is supposed to satisfy the most amount of people, so it should be a guy with mass appeal.”
Wharton freshman Elle Morris thinks that negative reactions will diminish once students sample some of Passion Pit and Tiësto’s music.
“Maybe they don’t carry as much name recognition, but if people hear the music maybe that will change their minds,” she said.
Others, though, think SPEC should have picked bigger names.
“Considering that the musicians this time are less prominent, the price increase seems less justifiable,” said College freshman Trinh Thach.
This year, SPEC increased Spring Fling ticket prices by $5. Floor access tickets will cost $45, and all other seats will cost $35 for Penn students.
Morris said this price hike — combined with the fact that this will be the first year since 2009 in which there are just two performers as opposed to three — disappointed her.
SPEC defended its decision to decrease the number of artists and increase ticket prices.
“We decided that we could put on an amazing show with just two higher caliber artists instead of having three,” Sternfeld said.
“The rise in ticket prices reflects the rise in cost for talent as well as a higher production value,” Baxter added.
College junior Courtney Cilman sees no reason why students should be upset with the price increase.
“To complain about paying an extra $5 for a ticket that would be normally be triple what SPEC is charging is just absurd to me,” she said.
SPEC will also continue with its policy of sectioned seating this year.
Unlike in previous years, when students were allowed to pick their own general admission seats, SPEC sold tickets last year in nine different sections including the floor.
“One of the reasons it was implemented was to give the security guards leverage to help control problems in the stands,” Baxter said. “Usually security is called into the stands because of people being unruly and creating problems in the stands.”
This year’s concert will take place at Franklin Field on Friday, Apr. 13.
Wrist band floor access tickets will go on sale next Thursday at 10 a.m. on Locust.
All other sectioned tickets will be sold online at SPEC’s website starting at the same time.
Additional sectioned tickets will be sold on Locust the following week.
“We are stoked to see Passion Pit and Tiësto bring a new caliber of performance that Fling hasn’t seen before,” Baxter said.