Spring Fling will be held virtually this year over two weekends in April in an effort to hold the concert safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Social Planning and Events Committee, which hosts an annual Fling concert every year, announced in an email to a SPEC listserv on March 2 that it would hold the concert virtually on April 9, 10, 16, and 17. The event will be free and feature multiple performers that have yet to be announced. College junior and SPEC Concerts Director Kayla Johnson declined to say how many performers Fling will have this year or who they are.
Fling is typically held at Penn Park in April and features one or more headlining artists. The last Fling concert was held in 2019, and featured performances from Miguel and J.I.D.
Johnson said that, because SPEC was not able to put on a concert for Fling last year after Penn asked students to move off campus and canceled on-campus events, the group wanted to add more performers by stretching the event over two weekends.
"When it came to deciding how we wanted to format a concert this year, two weekends seemed like a way to build the hype around the concert," Johnson said.
She added that, because SPEC has held only virtual events this year, it had room in its budget to hire more performers. SPEC has brought in several entertainers this academic year for virtual events, including John Mulaney in October and musicians Hope Tala and Sudan Archives in February.
"Because it was virtual, we definitely just had more legroom to be more creative about what we wanted this concert to look like," Johnson said.
Before SPEC canceled the 2020 Fling concert, the organization announced plans to return the concert to a two-day format after it briefly condensed Fling into a single-day event in 2018 and 2019. Under the two-day format, the headliner concert would have taken place on Friday night, with the Fling festival, which includes games and student performances, on Saturday.
Johnson said that, although Fling will look different from previous years, she hopes that the virtual performances will provide students with the opportunity to participate in the Penn tradition.
"Despite the circumstances, [the Concerts Committee] has tried our best to put on a show this year that we think will be engaging for students, despite the times," she said.
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