Students enjoyed free food and a concert at Skimmerfest, an annual event celebrating the first home football game of the season on Oct. 4.
A joint effort from the Social Planning and Events Committee, the Class Boards, and Penn Athletics, Skimmerfest took place on Shoemaker Green and featured three musical acts as well as games and giveaways. Unlike previous years, the Skimmerfest committee, made up of students from SPEC and the Class Boards, chose to feature two headline artists — courtship. and zack villere — instead of one.
courtship., a duo from Los Angeles, is "very summery, pop, [with] an upbeat kind of vibe," said College junior Helen Zhang, who is the Skimmerfest committee head and SPEC secretary. "Skimmerfest is usually in September so it would typically still be usually summery and warm, so we wanted to find an artist that was sunny, [with] happy pop music."
zack villere, a bedroom pop artist, was the second headliner. Skimmerfest committee talent director and College senior Chris Mountanos explained that the committee initially approached courtship. but found afterwards that they had surplus budget, allowing them to hire an additional performer. Mountanos, who is also the vice president of SPEC, added that the committee hoped the diversity in their music styles would bring more students to the event.
"With an additional artist for the concert, we can appeal to a wider audience because were are pulling from three very different genres," Zhang said. "You might not be into the bedroom pop, but you might be into courtship."
"I kind of feel like there is a thing for everyone at Skimmerfest this year," she added.
Following in the tradition of previous Skimmerfests, the event also featured a student opening act from rap artist NiSPLASH. To find the student opener, Mountanos said, the committee sent out an application form to students across campus asking them to submit clips of their music. Mountanos said the committee was already familiar with many student bands from Spring Fling's daytime performances and other events.
"NiSPLASH is one of the artists that we knew about who usually gets a pretty big audience," Mountanous said, adding that this was a significant factor in their decision.
The event also featured giveaways and food trucks, as well as games like corn hole, inflatable axe throwing, and air hockey.
At the beginning of the event, students clustered around the food trucks, particularly Nina's Waffles, Mister Softee, and the Tot Cart. Several students waiting to enter said they were walking by and decided to join and get free food even though they did not know in advance that an event was happening.
“I have some friends who were going,” College junior Whitney Barrett said, “I checked the email I didn’t know I received and decided to come.”
By the time zack villere began his set at 5 p.m., more people had filled Shoemaker Green until there were more than 100 students there. A cluster of about 20 students stood at the edge of the stage to watch the performance, while the rest formed small groups at the picnic tables and along the wall by the entrance.
“It’s weird. I don’t know who I’m talking to,” Villere said, addressing the small crowd in front of him. “You’re right here, but there’s all this empty space out there with some people, and I don’t know if I’m talking to them. I guess not.”
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