Yale Daily News

Spring Fling, a concert traditionally held on Old Campus each spring before final exams begin, was called off for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To avoid being forced to cancel the event at the last minute, the 2021 Spring Fling committee decided not to plan an event for the spring. The committee cited uncertainty about the public health situation as the main reason for the concert’s cancellation. Each year, the Spring Fling committee selects the featured artists through discussion and a survey sent to Yale College students. The concert typically attracts over 9,000 Yale community members. 

Spring Fling 2020 was going to feature an all-female lineup for the first time since 1998. The line-up consisted of R&B singer-songwriter Ari Lennox, alternative pop band the Aces, electropop artist DJ Elohim and rapper Rico Nasty. 

According to Spring Fling Committee chairs Lydia Schooler ’21, Max Sahlins ’21 and Isabella Epstein ’21, the committee intentionally sought an all-female lineup. The committee had noticed that out of 60 past Spring Fling performances, only 13 included at least one female member. 

“We wanted to challenge ourselves to be more inclusive, and invite artists that speak to Yale’s diverse student body in terms of both musical interest and identity,” Schooler said. “We have these conversations every year, but this year, the lineup diversity was really at the forefront of our minds.”

Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Yale sent students home two months before the set concert date, forcing the cancellation of Spring Fling 2020.

The previous year also had its fair share of cancellations. In April 2019, rapper Lil Uzi Vert cancelled just three days before the concert due to “internal issues.” 

As that year’s headliner, Lil Uzi Vert was set to have been one of the biggest names Spring Fling would have ever seen. The committee had been able to secure Lil Uzi Vert by not splitting their budget among various artists like they had done in past years. 

The committee replaced him with rapper Playboi Carti, who was accompanied by Australian EDM DJ Anna Lunoe and various student acts. 

The year before, in 2018, Spring Fling took place on April 28 and Hip-hop artist A$AP Ferg headlined the concert. Ferg was accompanied by female hip-hop artist Cupcakke, Norwegian singer Dagny and French DJ Madeon.

A$AP Ferg was the top choice on a YCC survey distributed in October. At the time, he was most famous for his song “Plain Jane.”

The inclusion of Cupcakke in 2018’s lineup had a mixed reception. While some students celebrated the musician’s talent and openness, others were apprehensive about the content of the rapper’s lyrics.

Debate sparked about Cupcakke’s lyrical style in various opinion columns in the News. Aaron Sibarium ’18 wrote that Cupcakke “demystifies what should be mysterious, makes ugly what should be beautiful and, in doing so, it sterilizes intimacy,” while Nolan Phillips ’18 wrote, “It is unfair to dismiss the importance of Cupcakke’s work because of its profanity.”

Cupcakke told the News in an interview that she “does not give a f–” about critics at Yale who say her lyrics are too raunchy. 

The first Spring Fling concert was held in 1995 and featured the alternative rock band They Might Be Giants.

Alex used to cover all things the Divinity School. Now, she serves as Weekend Editor. She's a junior in Trumbull majoring in English.