Students pack College Green for Fling floor passes
SPEC turned students away early Thursday, and no floor passes are currently available
March 22, 2012, 5:56 am · Updated April 10, 2012, 12:00 am·
Julie Xie | DP
Though hundreds of students pulled all-nighters Wednesday night to score Passion Pit and Tiësto floor passes, many others were disappointed with the limited number of tickets available.
Starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, the Social Planning and Events Committee sold 720 floor passes for the Spring Fling concert, said Wharton junior and SPEC Concerts Co-Director Julia Sternfeld. However, virtually all of those passes were sold to students who began arriving on College Green as early as 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Students who showed up to SPEC’s ticketing table in front of the Phi Kappa Sigma, or “Skulls,” fraternity house after about 3 a.m. Thursday were turned away from floor passes for the Franklin Field concert.
Many students have pointed out that Tiësto’s electronic dance music is best — and, for some, only — experienced when standing in front of the stage.
“Tiësto is a performer who feeds off the crowd’s energy, and I don’t think it’s going to work well if he’s only feeding off a select number of people,” College senior Samantha Crabbe said. “There should have been a lot more floor passes.”
Crabbe also suggested that, in future years, SPEC should consider staggering the times that it sells floor passes so that students with busy schedules may have a greater opportunity to purchase tickets.
SPEC, however, explained that several factors prevent it from increasing the number of floor passes available.
“Essentially, the setup we have is the best to allow the maximum number of students on the track without creating an opportunity to damage the integrity of the field,” Sternfeld said, adding that a lacrosse game is always scheduled on Franklin Field the day following the concert. “We are renting the space from Penn Athletics and need to be respectful of their rules and requests.”
This year’s Fling concert will be held on Friday, April 13.
SPEC had initially intended to sell just 700 floor passes Thursday morning, but ultimately went over that amount by 20. Although SPEC has the capacity to allow 1,100 people onto the floor, it is currently reserving most of those remaining passes for different individuals and organizations — including Fling student coordinators, special guests of the performers and University groups, among others.
“There are limited facilities at Penn that allow us to have this many people in one place,” Sternfeld said, explaining that the Fling concert used to be held in Wynn Commons, which had less than half the capacity of the space currently used on Franklin Field. “While we realize the floor of the concert is a coveted location, it is one of the many factors SPEC Concerts has to consider when managing a crowd of this size in an active athletic facility.”
Adding more floor passes “is just not an option for us now,” she added.
“For this type of music, floor passes really are the only way to go,” said College junior and former Daily Pennsylvanian contributing writer Maya Chacko, who was turned away from a floor pass after arriving in front of the Skulls house at around 7:30 a.m. Thursday. “It seems like the lack of floor passes is almost going to turn the artist’s appearance into a waste. It’s not going to be a very good experience for those in the bleachers.”
For those who were not able to purchase floor passes, regular stadium seats are currently available online via SPEC’s website.
If the scene of those lined up on College Green is in any way a taste of what’s to come in April, the Fling concert may prove to be an experience to remember.
Starting at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, students pitched tents, brought their warmest sweatshirts and sleeping bags and stocked up on supplies from Wawa in preparation for the long night that lay ahead. Many also squinted at their textbooks to finish reading for class, while others caught some shut eye on air mattresses.
Others bonded as they sat on the sidewalk, playing card games and listening to a stream of lively music that was blasting from speakers.
In order to control the crowd and ensure that those who had showed up first would receive floor passes, SPEC distributed red wristbands and stamped students’ hands. Only those with both a wristband and a stamp were eligible to purchase floor passes when they went on sale.
Engineering senior Nitin Puri and Wharton senior Seth Harrison said they were the first to begin standing in line.
The pair turned to each other at around 7 p.m. Wednesday and asked — want to buy a tent?
And they did, at Walmart. At around 10:30 p.m., they pitched their tent and staked a spot at the beginning of the line. Soon after arriving, Puri said he began texting people he knew to spread the word.
“Oh yeah, we started it,” Puri said.
Along with Harrison and a few other friends, they waited inside their new tent until morning. In order to pass the time, they worked with Skulls brothers to set up a TV, Xbox and speakers in front of the Skulls house.
“This is my fifth year at Fling because I had come for my pre-frosh weekend,” Harrison said. “It’s my last Fling and I gotta go as big as possible.”
College freshman Samantha Bronner, who arrived at around 1:30 a.m. and received her wristband soon after, said she was camped out outside for her boyfriend — a big fan of the Fling artists.
“I thought I’d be a good girlfriend and camp out here,” she said. “He doesn’t know that I’m here.”
For Wharton and Engineering sophomore Ankur Goyal, joining the line was a spur of the moment decision. He compared the College Green atmosphere to camping out during his senior year of high school to get men’s basketball tickets at Duke University.
“It’s not as rowdy, but this is completely impromptu,” he said. Like many others, Goyal had a midterm and a quiz Thursday.
College junior and SPEC Concerts Co-Director Sam Gorski said that SPEC worked in conjunction with Penn Police throughout the night to distribute wristbands. Though Gorski said SPEC had planned in advance for major crowds, “we clearly had to put things in action a little earlier than we’d expected.”
Overall, he described the night as “controlled chaos.”
At around 3:40 a.m., two Penn Police officers arrived at the back of the line near the Button as Gorski and Sternfeld informed about 100 students that they would not be distributing any more wristbands.
Some were displeased with the night’s organization.
Engineering freshman Michael Pintauro, who did not receive a wristband, said that the entire night was “so uncoordinated — nobody even knew what was going on half the time.”
Likewise, though Bronner made many “line friends,” she acknowledged that there was “definitely some hostility with people trying to cut in line.”
College sophomore Emma Kaufman, who received a wristband at around 2:30 a.m., called the night “absolutely intense. It was definitely nothing like last year.”
Overall, Sternfeld and Gorski were pleased with the mass turnout and organization throughout the night.
“We’re very happy to see the excitement level of the student body,” Gorski said. “I think it took seeing this to know just how excited people were.”