Bright flashing lights and strings of colorful balloons engulfed McCarthy Quad as nearly 5,500 students danced to performances by rappers Trippie Redd and Gunna at Springfest. The annual concert, hosted by the Concerts Committee, invited students to interact with an augmented reality art piece featuring a large, geometric dome and pose in front of a virtual reality mural.
Trippie Redd, who was announced as the headliner Friday, performed songs like “Topanga” and “Love Scars” as concertgoers moshed and danced to the beat of blaring music. The announcement, which did not occur until the day before the concert, followed rumors that Lil Uzi Vert would be headlining at this year’s Springfest.
“[Lil Uzi Vert] was an artist that we’ve considered for our Springfest show for some time now,” Stiers said.
Though some students were disappointed that Lil Uzi was not the headliner, others expressed their excitement for Trippie Redd.
“My friend got us all into this song ‘Topanga’ back in September … and we’ve been blasting that song every single weekend,” said Amelia Katz, a freshman in the World Bachelor of Business program. “When they announced Trippie Redd [as the headliner,] we all screamed.”
Trippie Redd’s set was energetic — the audience jumped and danced along while he performed songs like “Love Scars” and “Take a Walk.”
“I think this year’s Springfest was a lot more diverse and a lot more immersive,” Concerts Committee Director Kira Stiers said. “We had a really wide-ranging roster of artists that I think kind of touch on every genre.”
Before Trippie Redd took the stage, rappers Taco and J.I.D, indie artist Still Woozy and electronic music artist TroyBoi performed their respective sets. Rapper Gunna took the stage as the concert’s mystery act.
Taco, a member of Odd Future, opened the concert with a quick jab at the recent college admissions scandal before starting his DJ set to a sparse crowd.
“If you paid to get into college, raise your hand!” Taco said. “Whose parents paid? Whose parents are going to jail?”
Students screamed as Still Woozy took the stage to perform “Goodie Bag” and “Vacation.” They crowded around him as he hopped off the stage and over the barrier to perform the hit “X” while singing along with the audience.
Atlanta-based rapper J.I.D. followed Still Woozy and performed several songs from his 2018 album “DiCaprio 2,” including “Off Deez.”
Students jumped and danced to the beat as Troyboi performed his hit single “Grimey.” He also played “Afterhours” and “Do You?”
Mystery guest artist Gunna then took the stage and performed “Drip too Hard.” After a few songs, he brought out Young Thug and performed “Oh Okay” and “Chanel.”
The event also featured booths from sponsors such as AT&T, Apple Pay, Shein, United Airlines and Global Inheritance, which hosted an interactive playground that allowed students to charge their phones by using playground equipment.
Students also lined up for a virtual and augmented reality installation called The Immersive Experience. The installation, which was created by Merciv, an experimental design company co-founded by Iovine and Young Academy seniors Cam Lindsay and Jacob Fishman, allowed users to enter an inflatable igloo and virtually paint on the side of Von KleinSmid Center.
In addition to introducing the immersive art experience, Concerts Committee also established new guidelines to ensure the safety of students, including a no-guest policy. Once the venue reached capacity, students were only admitted as other students left.
“They’re really taking security into the measure here. As you can see they shut down the festival because of capacity,” said Drew McGrane, a senior majoring in sociology, said as he stood in line to enter McCarthy Quad.
Once the event reached the 5,500-person capacity, entrances were shut down by the fire inspector, Stiers said. Some students who were not admitted to the event watched the show from the second and third levels of McCarthy Parking Structure.
“We’ve worked really closely with DPS … They vet all of our artists and they provide the security they think is necessary for the event and we worked really closely with USC Fire Safety to make sure the quad is safe for attendees,” Stiers said.
Stiers said Concerts Committee typically does not confirm artists until the week before the event due to logistical issues. Before securing an artist Stiers said they must address risk management and insurance issues and have the performers approved by the University.