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Spring Fling 2007 Credit: Toby Hicks

Rolling out a huge event like Fling isn’t easy.

Fewer than three weeks ago, pop artist Kesha leaked the news that she would headline Penn's Spring Fling concert on her Facebook page, and Penn’s campus exploded with the news. But this year’s controversy isn't the only one in Penn's Fling history.


Shortly after the Social Planning and Events Committee announced that Tyga would perform at Fling, a student group called We Can Do Better was formed to protest the choice of artist because of his misogynistic lyrics. With offensive songs like “Bitches Ain’t Shit,” many students felt that Tyga was not an appropriate choice of artist.

SPEC and We Can Do Better ultimately collaborated to discuss solutions to the issue. While Tyga was kept as a performer for 2013, the two groups focused on creating solutions for choosing more appropriate artists in the future.

Also in 2013, the concert’s headliner Girl Talk was announced much later than expected — less than two weeks before the concert. Rumors circulated that SPEC’s first choice artist had fallen through, and it had to scramble to select a new performer. Girl Talk was similarly criticized by some students for having lyrics that are offensive to women.


Flyers announcing that Dave Matthews Band and Ace of Base would perform at Fling created hype on campus leading up to the concert — only to be revealed as fake by SPEC. The actual headliner was Sonic Youth, with Cat Power and Citizen Cope as opening acts. Many students were disappointed.


A member of the Undergraduate Assembly impersonated a Spring Fling director over the phone during five separate phone calls spanning the course of three days. He said that rock duo Milli Vanilli would perform as the headliner, when in fact the headliner was the band Indigo Girls. He told The Daily Pennsylvanian that he and two other students meant to pull a joke on the student body.


This year’s Fling resulted in what former Fling Advisor and faculty member Rene Singleton called “near-riot situations.”

Chaos during Fling weekend led to $7,000 worth of damage in the Quad. In one dorm bathroom, “three stalls were destroyed, the ceiling was smashed, doors were ripped off, toilet bowls were crushed and the marble dividers were yanked from the walls and left in pieces on the floor and in the shower,” The Daily Pennsylvanian reported. Since the vandals were not caught, the student government was forced to pay for repairs. Expensive rented stage equipment, amounting to thousands of dollars, was also stolen.

That same weekend, the concert was canceled last minute due to rain, and an uncontrolled stampede of students rushed into Irvine Auditorium to see an “air band” competition, which sent one security officer to the hospital.

After this chaotic weekend, the University decided to shorten the 1999’s Fling to two instead of three days. Ironically, Fling ended up stretching four days because of bad weather.


Disaster struck when headliner Atlanta Rhythm Section suddenly dropped out last minute. Luckily, SPEC was able to find a replacement musical act for the concert, but SPEC made all students return their tickets and reissued new ones. Due to contract issues, SPEC was no longer allowed to use tickets with Atlanta Rhythm Section’s logo on them.

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