As Spring Fling's theme promised, the annual April festival was "wild" -- in more ways than one. Besides providing a wild time for students, it also exceeded its organizers' wildest dreams. Fling began Friday with some of the best weather the annual fete has seen in recent years, with many students garbed in shorts and spread out on blankets in the lower portion of the Quadrangle. But as the day wore on, Mother Nature seemed to remember that it was Spring Fling, which seems to perpetually signal an end to any warm, sunny weather. After reaching a high of nearly 60 degrees at 2 p.m. Friday, the thermometer plunged to just over 40 degrees as the headline Indigo Girls were wrapping up their show at Hill Field after 11 p.m. And Saturday was marked by intermittent showers and smaller crowds in the Quad. But the Friday night cold snap did little to turn away students from the Hill Field concert. Fling leaders said they were "very impressed" with the turnout for the show. Nearly 6000 students paid the $6 ticket price to see the three-band concert, which featured local reggae favorite Sons of Ace, guitarist Gerard McHugh and the headlining Georgia folk duo, Indigo Girls. Fling Co-director Todd Fruchterman, who addressed the crowd before the Indigo Girls took the stage, said the spectacle was impressive. "There were just thousands of people," he said. "It was just awesome." The Indigo Girls went on at about 9:30 p.m., with member Emily Saliers sporting a blue "PENN" sweatshirt. They then played for nearly 90 minutes. The show climaxed when the guitar duo performed their hit song "Closer to Fine," during which they frequently requested and received audience participation. The show ended after a three-song encore, including a spirited cover of the Grateful Dead song "Uncle John's Band." Fling leaders said the success of the outdoor concert proves that students will turn out for popular, well-planned events. "I would hope they have it there again next year," said Fling Co-director Rob Cohen. "There's a potential to generate an awful lot of money there, so maybe a bigger name could be gotten after next year." During each of the two days, revelers flocked to the Quad, where local vendors and student groups had set up booths to hawk their wares. While several vendors reported lower volume than from previous Flings, Chili's manager Rob Long said sales this year "were definitely up from past years." "I'm sure we did better this year than in the past," he said of the restaurant's fourth year operating a booth in the Quad. University performing arts groups continued the annual tradition of giving short performances to the assembled masses in the Quad, with 18 groups taking the stage that had been set up in the southeastern corner of Lower Quad. While the nasty weather on Saturday may have reduced the number of students who caroused in the courtyards of the freshman dormitory, it did little to deter from the groups' performances. Nearly 2000 students participated in the annual rendition of "The Red and the Blue" led by the Mask and Wig Club to end the daytime activities Saturday. "Everyone was really excited -- they were definitely into it," despite the weather, said Club member David Koff. "It was an incredible rush, as usual." On Saturday, the annual airband competition took place, and although originally scheduled for Hill Field, it was once again held in Irvine Auditorium due to inclement weather. Six lip-synch groups took the stage in the 40-minute performance, which closed with a laser-light show. Fling organizers said they were pleased that nearly 1,300 students turned out for the finale. "As always you'd like more people involved," said Co-director Denise Rubin. "Hopefully next year they'll have that." Fruchterman added that one of the bands may have caused some damage to the lighting equipment when senior Jeff Goldenberg threw a full bottle of beer behind the laser screen and "knocked out" two lights valued at about $3,000 each. Organizers immediately pulled Goldenberg off the stage and cancelled the last airband act in order to assess the damage.Comments powered by Disqus
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