On Monday, March 22, the Spring Fling Committee announced the cancelation of Spring Fling 2021 on Instagram.
Spring Fling is an annual concert where Yale students celebrate the end of classes before finals begin. It is planned by a committee of undergraduates. This year’s committee chairs — Alexandra Gers ’24, Georgia Michelman ’22, Stefanie Grau ’22, Jarett Malouf ’23 and Olivia Marwell ’24 — initially discussed plans to organize a concert in hybrid format, but ultimately decided against this.
“Spring Fling is often a time for celebration and joy for the Yale community, and we are deeply saddened by the fact that we cannot deliver that this spring,” the Spring Fling Committee members wrote to the News. “We do, however, hope there will be further opportunities to gather in person safely next year, and are prepared to plan for such a situation.”
Before making a final decision, the committee conducted discussions with Yale administration — including Dean Melanie Boyd, Dean Kate Krier and Dean Hannah Peck — as well as booking agencies and YCC leaders. They also surveyed undergraduate students.
Last November, the committee sent out a survey to gauge students’ artist preferences to all undergraduates. According to Michelman, over 60 percent of students surveyed preferred an event with in-person components over a virtual event. Michelman also said that a large number of students expressed disinterest in any form of virtual or hybrid programming.
The committee members cited uncertainty about the public health situation as the main reason for the concert’s cancelation. Even though members were initially optimistic about the student body’s vaccination by late April — which might have allowed for an in-person event — they realized that the Yale community and professional artists would not necessarily be vaccinated in time.
The original plans for a 2021 Spring Fling included renting large screens for each residential college. Virtual live performances would be livestreamed on these screens in college courtyards. Students would be able to reserve spots on courtyards during specified time slots.
Michelman said that Yale administrators initially supported this hybrid format. However, the two parties ultimately recognized potential high-risk concerns with this format. The committee was mainly concerned about students independently gathering in large groups or hosting individual parties on the day, as in typical years.
To avoid being forced to cancel the event at the last minute due to concerns about COVID-19, the committee decided not to plan an event for this year.
The budget for Spring Fling 2022 has not yet been finalized, so the committee does not have information regarding whether this year’s unspent funds will carry over to next year, according to Michelman.
This year also will not have “Battle of the Bands,” a competition where student bands compete to open for the Spring Fling lineup. Committee members hope to highlight Yale artists virtually through social media concerts and Zoom events.
Dominick DeFazio ’22 said that he would prefer no concert at all over a virtual concert because it would prompt larger gatherings and create an unnecessary incentive to host parties on campus. DeFazio also said that a virtual concert would be “so obnoxiously lame.”
“Times are lame enough as is, I don’t need a virtual Spring Fling rubbing that in my face,” he said.
Spring Fling’s social media accounts will continue to update students as plans for events this semester develop.
Marisol Carty | firstname.lastname@example.org