Last Friday, as the clock struck midnight in Goodrich Hall, All Campus Entertainment (ACE) announced the performance lineup for Spring Fling 2016, which will be held on April 29. To celebrate the announcement of the artists, ACE held an event called “60 Days,” marking the approximate 60 days until Spring Fling. After students enjoyed two hours of dancing, the ACE Concert Committee members lowered a banner from the second floor balcony to reveal Tory Lanez and The White Panda as this year’s Spring Fling headliners.
Instead of using the traditional opener-headliner concert format, ACE decided that this year they will feature a student opener and then host two co-headliners, who will both perform full hour-long sets. This change was intended to build a diverse show by introducing two genres. “It will be interesting to see how students respond to that,” ACE Concert Committee Chair Elizabeth Sullivan ’18 said. “So far, I’ve been getting good feedback about both artists but not a lot of intersec-tion, which leads me to believe that we’re catering to very different kinds of music listeners. It’s more polarized than I realized, which means co-headlining opens a lot of doors for us, and I think we’re reaching a demographic that we’ve struggled to reach in the past.”
Tory Lanez is a rapper, singer, songwriter and producer from Toronto, Canada. His debut album will be released later this year, but he has released mixtapes and singles to great success. Lanez’s hit single “Say It” garnered over 50 million YouTube views and peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Lanez recently co-signed with Justin Bieber, a fellow Canadian, and performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live in late January. For this performance, Lanez released a new single, “LA Confidential,” co-written by R&B singer Miguel.
The White Panda, by contrasting musical styles, is an acclaimed Electronic Dance Music (EDM) DJ group. Some of its hits include Bearly Legal, an hour long album mash-up of popular songs, such as “Midnight Life,” a mash-up of Kanye West and M83, and “$ave Dat One For Me,” a mash-up of Fetty Wap, Lil Dicky and Great Good Fine Ok. The White Panda has performed at multiple music festivals, and will be also performing at the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware, a festival for which The White Panda has created an advertisement mash-up of festival headliners. The White Panda released its most recent album, The Pawprint, in 2015.
According to Sullivan, The White Panda “was very popular on our survey results and I think they will be a crowd pleaser. They have been around the music circuit for many years, know how to play a live set and know how to play to a college audience. I think they will give [students] what they want to hear.”
The survey Sullivan referenced shows that amongst students at the College, the most popular genres were EDM, rap/R&B and pop. The least popular genre was country, which surprised Sullivan. Although Tory Lanez was not on the survey, The White Panda appeared on the initial survey and has received interest “from the very beginning,” Sullivan said.
“Tory Lanez is up and coming and self-made,” Sullivan said, explaining his selection despite not appearing as a preliminary option for Spring Fling.
“Tory Lanez is up-and-coming and self-made,” Sullivan said, explaining his selection despite not appearing as a preliminary option for Spring Fling. “There’s a lot of potential there. I think he’s really accessible because he works on all sides of music and production. He describes himself as a mixed genre – ‘swavey’ – and is very collaborative, so I think he’ll be very accessible to a Williams audience. I think especially an audience that doesn’t listen to a lot of rap can still get really into it.”
ACE sends out the survey in the fall because the group wants everyone to feel like they have a say in the process, but this can have a negative effect as well, ac-cording to Sullivan: “The problem with sending out a survey is that people think everyone on the list is a viable option but in reality that’s not how the process works, so it’s hard to give people a lot of information without expecting them to hold it against you later.”
In fact, concert planning preparations began far before the student body received the first Spring Fling survey e-mail. The contract process begins almost immediately after Spring Fling ends, with the first calls to agents beginning in June. As the ACE Concerts Committee continues to shape the Spring Fling show, the committee also plans smaller concerts throughout the year. Last fall, ACE brought rapper Luke Christopher and during Winter Study, ACE sponsored a concert by Darlingside, a band comprised of College alumni.
Another big change for Spring Fling this year is the new location. This spring, the concert will be held in Towne Fieldhouse instead of Lasell Gym. Lasell Gym has a capacity of 800 students but is the oldest functioning college gym in the country and is “not built for 800 people jumping up and down.” Instead, Towne has a capacity of 1200, 50 percent larger than Lasell’s capacity. Because of this, “we have to focus this year a lot on getting as many students to go as possible and having the best Spring Fling they can have,” Sullivan said. The last concert held in Towne was Macklemore in 2013, and turnout hasn’t been as high since then.
“Student input and perspective is what we listen to over everything else,” Sullivan said. “Above all, I’m hoping that the day of goes smoothly. A lot can happen … I don’t think I’ll be happy until the last equipment has left Towne. Twelve hundred people doesn’t seem like that much, but it’s a huge undertaking. I just hope more than anything that people go to Spring Fling. I think Williams students will really enjoy it.”