Passion Pit to open Fling concert
Artist choice due to 'strong appeal' among Penn students
March 14, 2012, 9:06 am·
Passion Pit will open the 2012 Spring Fling concert, the Social Planning and Events Committee announced at noon today, Mar. 14.
SPEC Concerts released the name of the opener online via the website whoscomingtofling.com. 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.
“We really wanted to utilize digital [media] and possibly mobile marketing this year, and we thought it would be an effective way to reach our student body,” SPEC Concerts Co-Director and Wharton junior Chase Baxter said.
Some questioned the decision to announce the artist online.
“It would have been nice if the artists were announced in a more formal way instead of just a mere post online,” College sophomore Chris Sfedu said.
However, many students discovered who the opening artist was before the official online announcement.
“I found out about Passion Pit on my sorority listserv,” College sophomore Sophia Fischler-Gottfried said. “I was not too disappointed that the news leaked because I haven’t really been at the edge of my seat wondering.”
Students also started speculating about who would perform before the leak and announcement.
“I had heard rumors of other artists,” College freshman Anna Irizzari said. “I had heard Ke$ha, then Kelly Clarkson.”
Wharton junior Brett Levine also heard “whispers from friends who work in the dance music industry” as early as last week.
SPEC Concerts Co-Director and Wharton junior Julia Sternfeld believes the committee found a band that has strong appeal among Penn students.
“They were on our short list from the very beginning,” she said of the American band that was formed in 2007. “Also, they just tweeted about how their new album is almost released, so this is a very opportune time to have them on campus.”
“They have a pretty avid fan base, but their music also has the ability to appeal to people who aren’t familiar with them,” Baxter added. “We’re always looking to diversify so that it’s not just rapper year after year.”
Students expressed mixed reactions about SPEC choosing the eleectropop band.
“I like Passion Pit,” College freshman Christina Atterbury said. “I was surprised to hear they were the opener because they are pretty popular.”
Others felt the choice was too alternative. “I don’t know who Passion Pit is,” College freshman Trinh Thach said. “I know that sometimes people like to get away from “mainstream” music, but otherwise I am not too sure why they picked Passion Pit.”
Last year, the Spring Fling concert featured Ratatat and Flo Rida as openers for headliner Lupe Fiasco. In 2010, Shwayze and Kid Cudi opened for Snoop Dogg.
This year, there will only be one opener, Sternfeld said, adding that students will know who is headlining early next week.
The last time that just two artists performed at Spring Fling was in 2009, with Guster opening for Akon.
“We decided that we could put on an amazing show with just two higher caliber artists instead of having three,” Sternfeld said.
This year, Spring Fling tickets also increased by $5 from last year. Penn students may purchase tickets for $45 for floor access or $35 for all other seating.
“The rise in ticket prices reflects the rise in cost for talent as well as a higher production value,” Baxter said. “The production of the show will also be a lot higher than in years past.”
The last time Spring Fling ticket prices were changed was when current seniors were freshmen, Sternfeld added.
Some expressed annoyance over the price hike.
“I was surprised we had to pay in the first place,” Irizzari said.
Others believed that the caliber of the artists overshadowed the price.
“A price hike, of course, would be dissatisfying,” College and Engineering sophomore Ankur Ahuja said. “But again, if the two headliners are incredibly reputable, then the markup would be understandable and I wouldn’t complain very much.”
Wharton sophomore Kenji Tulman agree, explaining that, to him, “a five-dollar increase for the quality of artists you get is worth it.”
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 this was implemented was to give the security guards leverage to help control problems in the stands,” Baxter added. “Usually security is called into the stands because of people being unruly and creating problems in the stands.”
College sophomore Victoria Chimento agreed with Baxter, noting that the precautions are “worth it in the end” as they help improve safety.
Others believed that the confusion and inefficiencies of last year’s concert seating could be improved.
“I found seat sectioning to be quite confusing and rather ineffectual last year and am disappointed that no changes were made for this year’s event,” Ahuja said. “The seat sectioning concept is simply an inconvenience.”
The Fling concert will take place at Franklin Field on Friday Apr. 13.