Students traveled between food trucks and booths scattered around McCarthy Quad as they waited for electronic artist Sam Gellaitry to jump on stage for Saturday’s Welcome Back Concert, which drew over 6,000 attendees.
The event was organized by the USC Concerts Committee, a student-run organization that puts hosts free concerts and special events throughout the school year.
The committee’s co-director Kira Stiers said the team had been preparing for the event since June.
“Fiddling all the moving pieces are harder because we are a university,” Stiers said. “There’s only certain vendors we can work with and we have to work through Facilities Management Services and the Trojan Event Services, so it’s been a fast learning [curve].”
According to Stiers, this concert was unlike the ones from previous years; the lineup featured indie opener Yeek, R&B artist Arin Ray and electronic artist Sam Gellaitry. Stiers said she worked to make sure to have diverse music tastes represented by this year’s performers.
“We’re doing three artists as opposed to the two that we normally have for Welcome Back [Concert], just because we really wanted to represent the demographics of USC,” Stiers said. “That’s a critique we’ve gotten in the past: that we don’t care to all the types of must people listen to.”
Flanking McCarthy Quad were rows of food trucks including Billionaire Burger Boyz, The Boba Truck and Share-A-Meal. Vendors such as Pasta Roma and Kobunga Korean Grill passed out free samples of their signature dishes.
In front of the Von KleinSmid Center, USC Student Affairs arranged carnival food and games including dart throwing, hammer games and popcorn for concert-goers. Students also posed in front of a “Trojan Mart” photo booth and came together to mark their hometowns on a large world map.
Yeek took the stage around 8 p.m. and performed hits “Shake,” “$even,” “Love & Fame” and “Blood Shot.” Audience responses were less than enthusiastic, as his performance drew boos from the crowd. He ended his set with his song “Only in the West.”
“Yeek was chill and it was very relaxing,” said Sophia Chi, a freshman majoring in accounting who attended the event. “At some points, [he] could’ve been a little more exciting… It was a bit bland.”
The crowd became reinvigorated as Ray came on stage and performed “With Or Without,” “Communication” and “Stressin” while the crowd cheered.
The night ended with Sam Gellaitry, a British DJ who found his start on SoundCloud at 17 years old. Gellaitry has said he is influenced by hip-hop and is transitioning from producing house music to more trap music.
Gellaitry performed original pieces such as “Long Distance,” “HYENA,” “The Gateway” and “Higher.” Even five hours after the start of the concert, the crowd became energized as it jumped to the beat of his remix of Major Lazer’s “Original Don.” The night ended with Gellaitry’s performance of “Acres.”