When the inaugural Spring Fling was held in 1973, with performers including Zack’s Band, Glass, and The Jesse Clanton Band, students rejoiced at the opportunity to revel in the arrival of spring and the impending end to the academic year. 

Current Penn students have experienced a COVID–19–era virtual Spring Fling concert, Fling on Franklin Field, and SPEC’s most recent shift to Fling at Penn Park. One thing has remained the same in the 51 years since its inception: Spring Fling weekend is the greatest of Penn’s bacchanals. While the University banned alcohol and drug consumption in 1988, the administration’s decrees are no match for a Penn student’s desire to let loose after nine months in the academic pressure cooker. 

In anticipation of the Spring Fling Concert this Friday, April 19th, 34th Street dug into our photo archives to document the revelries of spring. From snapshots of past students old enough to be your boss at Goldman this summer to some of our favorite modern–era performers, Street chronicles Penn’s most iconic Flings in our retrospective photo essay. 

1976: Taj Mahal

As in the artist, not one of the seven wonders of the world. But the quad was an eighth wonder of the world that night.

1990: Jerry Seinfeld (comedian) and Meatloaf

What were they on this year? What’s the deal with Meatloaf, anyway? 

1997: A Tribe Called Quest, The Fun Lovin’ Criminals, The Toasters 

I would love to be able to say, I left my wallet at this Spring Fling concert—I got to get it, I got got to get it. To be able to kick it here, even though it was 40 degrees outside and Q–Tip’s cousin showed up and called us Penn State.

2002: George Clinton & The P–Funk All Stars, De La Soul, Pete Yorn, Lucky Boys Confusion 

Okay, this rocks. Everyone was dancing, even the white boy in your chem class. Go white boy from chem class. Woah! Don’t break a hip, you have finals next week.

2003: Busta Rhymes, The Donnas, Jurassic 5, Ok Go 

This was definitely the most punk Fling Penn’s ever put on. To quote college sophomore David Johnson, “That’s pretty hot.” Most Wharton–sounding freshman ever, Preston Lewellon, said, “I was right in front of Busta Rhymes—he could practically spit on me.” Whatever you’re into, I guess, as long as you had fun.

2004: Wyclef Jean, Reel Big Fish, The Working Title 

Okay, no offense, but who decided this lineup? 

Street hopes the University paid the medical bills of all attending students who suffered severe whiplash from changing between sets. 

2005: Sonic Youth and Cat Power 

Can you mosh to “Sea of Love” and “Little Trouble Girl?” Hell yeah. A dream lineup for r/indieheads, people who splat–dyed their hair in the communal bathroom, or those guys who tell girls their favorite book is The Bell Jar.

2006: Of A Revolution (O.A.R.), Scratch Track 

You know you’re a one–hit wonder when Penn books you for Spring Fling. Rumor has it the crowd was silent until “Turn the Car Around” started playing. 

2007: Ben Folds, Third Eye Blind 

The worst person you know’s favorite song is “Semi–Charmed Life.” So everyone in your econ class. For the one person left in the crowd during Ben Folds, how was it?

2008: Ludacris, Gym Class Heroes 

This is the most 2008 lineup one could imagine. Oh, to be a college student in the 00s, never mind the financial crisis… It's downright absurd Penn booked these absolute gems from the Aughts. One might say it's Ludacris. 

2010: Snoop Dogg, Kid Cudi, Schwayze 

God, we wish we were there. You wish you were there. We know it took weeks for the wind to blow away the stench of weed from the field. Crying to “Pursuit of Happiness” right now.

2022: Cheat Codes, Lil Yachty, Flo Milli 

While I sat, concussed in my Quad dorm, through my window I could hear the stylings of Cheat Codes and Flo Milli’s, and of course, Lil Yachty yelling at the crowd to get lit—or something like that. Clearly, our alleged title of “The Party Ivy” died that night. 

2023: Lil Tjay, Lauv 

I heard Lauv also performed at a high school graduation… I like me better when I’m with you, or whatever he said. Lil Tjay, keep up the good work. I also heard she a virgin. Street hadn’t listened to Lil Tjay since middle school and Street’s never listened to Lauv... ever.