After Penn Football thumped Bucknell 34–17 this past Saturday, students continued the celebrations and merriment nearby at Shoemaker Green at the annual fall music festival, jointly hosted by SPEC, Penn Traditions, Penn Athletics, and the Class Boards. Skimmerfest had all the goods: a free concert, free food, and free giveaways.
The headliner was rapper Luke Christopher, known for songs such as “Lot to Learn,” while the opener was Penn graduate Andro Mathewson, one–half of the production duo Acrillics. SPEC Concerts Director Helen Zhang (C’21) noted that “[SPEC] wanted to appeal to as many people as possible” with the lineup.
“I wanted to prioritize bringing talent in, reaching out to friends about the kinds of genres they like,” Helen said. “We’re bringing in someone that people have heard and we think pop and rap are good for the vibe.”
Skimmerfest was formed from the combination of Skimmer and Fall Fest in 2012, and has been held yearly since. The event was moved from Penn Park to Shoemaker Green this year, which paid dividends given that the concession lines were long enough to wrap halfway down the green before the event even started at 6:00. The food trucks included Lil Pop Shop, Mac Mart, Nina’s Waffles, Mr. Softee, and Undrgrnd Donuts. There was particular interest in Nina’s Waffles and Mr. Softee, both of which had sold out within an hour. As someone with a number of dietary restrictions, there weren’t really any food options for me, but the people and the environment made up for it. At about 6:30 pm, Andro Mathewson came on stage to perform an Acrillics set, including an electric remix of Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” which had students jumping up from the seating area to dance near the stage.
“It was fun to do it,” Andro Mathewson remarked about his performance. “I liked my four years at Penn and was DJing those years, so it was great.”
Luke Christopher came on stage at 7:10 pm to cheers from the crowd, and launched into his music with concertgoers clapping and singing along. At various points, he came down from the stage to interact with students, giving out high fives and letting one individual sing lyrics with him. Performing “Lot to Learn” as well as a number of other tracks from his debut album TMRWFRVR and previous mixtapes, Luke Christopher injected feel–good vibes into the atmosphere. It was as if he was enjoying his own show as much as the crowd did.
Speaking to the value of Skimmerfest as an event, Helen observed that “we go to a big school, and so with events like these, we get to make memories we don’t forget with our friends and our school.”
At this year's successful Skimmerfest, students came out for free food and stayed for excellent music performances. Class Board 2019 Nursing Chair Breanne Mastromarino had a few ideas for next year’s iteration, saying, “It would be really cool in the future if they even added more entertainment, like comedy or games.”
As for Helen's hopes for Skimmerfest’s future, she would like to see “more giveaways, more hype, and if budget allows, bigger talent.”
“I want to see everything on a bigger scale,” she said. “Almost like a Fall Fling.”