The typically humdrum McCarthy Quad was transformed on Saturday into a musical hub, replete with vendor booths, food trucks and an outdoor concert stage for the annual Springfest organized by USC Concerts Committee. With a USC Concerts Committee estimate of 5,700 people in attendance, indie rock band Glass Animals headlined the event.
DJ Skyler Ren kicked off the evening with remixes of popular songs such as Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.” and “m.A.A.D City.” Alongside Ren, rapper Sheck Wes performed songs like DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts.”
After Wes, electronic artist Medasin took the stage. His set included remixes of “The Office” theme song, Skrillex’s “Purple Lamborghini” and Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow,” all of which energized the eager crowd.
Before rapper Playboi Carti hit the stage, the crowd booed as movie trailers played on the big screen. Attendees started chanting Playboi Carti’s name and yelling at the stage crew,.
“I didn’t really understand why we had to watch movie trailers before Playboi Carti came out,” said Emily Fuesler, a freshman majoring in art. “Playboi Carti was really cool [and] he got people really crazy and excited.”
Once on stage, Carti performed hits like “Let It Go” and “Magnolia” from his self-titled 2017 album. Throughout his set, he encouraged a “mosh pit.” Students were happy to oblige and formed a large ring in front of the stage. At 9:43 p.m., Carti’s set was unexpectedly shut down, and he was escorted off the stage.
According to campus security, a fight broke out among students toward the end of his performance. Guards had to escort the fighting students out of the venue and cut Carti’s set short.
However, Concerts Committee said that there were no reports of any fights during the event and that Carti’s set was not cut short.
Subsequently, Oxford-based Glass Animals took the stage to rampant cheers from the audience. The band played popular hits “Gooey,” “The Other Side of Paradise” and “Life Itself.” During the set, lead singer Dave Bayley dove off the stage in true rockstar fashion and surfed through the crowd.
The band also launched balloons into the crowd for audience members to lob around while it covered Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” and Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” With ebullience and lively stage presence, Glass Animals proved to be a refreshing alternative to Springfest’s usual lineup of solo and hip-hop performers to students.
“I was hyped for Glass Animals,” said Jack Wilson, a sophomore majoring in communication. “I think it was an unexpected yet surprisingly delightful pick.”
Springfest also featured vendor booths, including a Tinder Lounge, virtual golf range, UberEats stall and promotions for the upcoming movies Avengers: Infinity War and Rampage. Food trucks were also parked along Pardee Lawn.
After last year’s Springfest shut down early since crowds exceeded maximum capacity, USC implemented new restrictions to ensure safety for this year’s event. Regulations included a requirement for students to pre-register for the event online, but access to the concert was granted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
USC added DPS officers and LAPD to secure the event this year. They also closed off the campus at 8 p.m., instead of at 9 p.m., to control the oncampus traffic.
Students began to line up at McCarthy Quad for the event at 5 p.m., but entry was delayed due to issues with ID card scanners and technical difficulties with the stage audio.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include comment and an updated attendance count from USC Concerts Committee.