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Guitarist Luke Miller, left, and bassist Jesse Miller of the five-member group Lotus, perform music from the band's new Vibes album at Skimmer. [Kien Lam/The Daily Pennsylvanian]

Foreshadowing Spring Fling, the annual Skimmer festivities of live music and free food took place in Wynn Commons Saturday night.

Sponsored by the Sophomore Class Board, Skimmer featured the bands Lotus and Big Breakfast as well as food catered by Fat Jack's -- served free to the first 1,500 people.

It was enough to entice hundreds of students to Wynn Commons before 6 p.m., and a line grew from the center of College Hall past the amphitheater by Logan Hall.

Traditionally held by the Schuylkill River, Skimmer began as a celebration of the varsity crew team's first regatta of the season. But due to scheduling conflicts and low attendance, Skimmer moved to Wynn Commons. "We moved it up here for a few reasons," Sophomore Class President Matt Klapper said. "It was great last year, but there was not a great turnout."

Although 900 meals were served by Fat Jack's, the crowd flowed in and out of Wynn Commons all night. The music and the food earned mixed reactions, but nearly all attendees praised the event.

"It's kinda lame that there's not a lot of food, and it's not really good, but I'm waiting for Big Breakfast," Wharton freshman Ben Holtz said.

College freshman James Stith said that he was overwhelmed by a turnout so strong that he had to wait 30 minutes to get food. "It's pretty cold, man," he said. "They should do this more often."

Big Breakfast keyboard player Dan Paul tried to avoid frostbite before his set. "We're hoping that tonight we stay warm and leave with all 60 of our collective fingers."

Band groupies and random passers-by chowed burgers with Penn students and reacted to the music of Lotus and Big Breakfast with praise and indifference.

"I think Lotus is the future of the long-dead genre of jam bands," Engineering freshman Richard Goldstucker said.

"I think the sophomore class did a great job," College sophomore Jill Tuck said. "Those guys [from Lotus] sound good, and the veggie burger was good."

Lotus guitar and synthesizer player Luke Miller described his music. "We try to do electronic music live on real instruments. Our musical expression comes best when we're letting our ideas flow off the top of our heads."

After Lotus, Big Breakfast took the stage to provide music described by Paul as "six bullshitters, bullshitting collectively at once. Bullshit music."

Big Breakfast scored high praise. Benji Jack, an Abington High School senior, was excited about the band. "They're really good," Jack said. "We actually came to see [a cappella group] Off the Beat, but they were sold out -- this is a pretty good substitute."

In the end, Klapper was pleased with the event. "The turnout was better than expected, given the forecast," Klapper said. "There were folks sitting around listening to music the whole night. This is a vast improvement over what was done last year."

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