The Social Planning and Events Committee will revert Spring Fling to its two-day format in hopes of increasing concert attendance.
SPEC changed Fling from a two-day to a one-day event in 2018, when they moved the event to Penn Park from the Quad. This year, the headliner concert will take place on Friday, April 17, while the Fling festival, which features food, games, and student group performances, will take place during the day on Saturday, April 18, SPEC President and Wharton senior Linda Ashmead said. Ashmead added that Fling will continue to take place in Penn Park.
The Fling concert saw low concert attendance in the first year Fling was consolidated into a one-day event. Ashmead said that SPEC hopes to increase turnout at the concert by returning to Fling's two day format.
She added that SPEC wanted to “bring back a new kind of hype around the concert” by kicking off the weekend with the concert.
College junior Shana Vaid said she is pleased with the change and thinks more people will attend the concert on Friday night. Vaid added that she believes people have left the festival before the concert in the past two years, because they made other plans for the evening or were too tired by the end of the festival.
"Trying to fit it into one day just condenses it too much and makes it less fun," Vaid said. "I think it'll definitely lead more people to go, especially if they are better at vetting who they choose to have at the concert."
College junior Declan Stecher said that he is also optimistic about Fling changing back to being a two-day event.
Wharton senior Tyler Knox said, however, he thinks fewer people will attend the festival at Penn Park if it is on a different day than the concert. He said he thinks people will be less likely to walk all the way to Penn Park if the concert is not on the same day as the festival.
Knox said he will still attend the festival to see his friends’ performances.
“I think the average student who maybe doesn't have that kind of motivation may find it harder to decide to go to that portion of Fling,” Knox said.
When SPEC made the festival into a one-day event in 2018, the number of student group performers was cut in half due to the shortened time frame. Ashmead said that because the concert is no longer immediately after the festival, SPEC will talk to Penn Athletics about extending the length of the festival to host more student groups.
Wharton senior Lina Shi, a member of the Pan-Asian Dance Troupe, said she supports the change to a two days. She added that after her group performed during the Fling festival before 2018, they held a gathering on Saturday night to celebrate their performance. When SPEC consolidated Fling to a one-day event and moved the concert to the same night as the festival, however, Shi said they could no longer host the gathering.
“It’s kind of nice they’re changing the main concert to Friday night, so everyone can hang out on Friday [at the concert], and then student groups can do stuff on Saturday night,” Shi said.
Last year, students criticized SPEC's decision to invite Miguel to perform at Fling, citing a 2017 sexual assault allegation. More than 250 people marked "going" or "interested" on a Facebook event called "Stand Against Miguel at Fling" to protest the singer’s “atrocities" through a boycott. The organizers called on students to stand against Miguel by not purchasing a ticket or by leaving before Miguel’s performance.