Students at the Student Government Productions’ Spring show were greeted with a vibrant, cotton candy-colored sunset over Flavet Field before Zara Larsson and Two Friends took the stage Wednesday night.
This semester’s free concert invited students to dance the school-night away for the price of a swipe of their Gator 1 card. Flavet Field was bolstered by various food trucks and vibrant stage lights.
SGP works to bring popular artists to UF students at a free or reduced cost. Its event last Fall saw performances by Joey Bada$$ and Jean Deaux.
As day turned to dusk, Larsson and a crew of backup dancers cycled through the pop sensation’s biggest hits, such as “Lush Life” and “Never Forget You.”
“I'm so happy to be here with you on just a fun Wednesday,” Larsson said.
The singer greeted the crowd of students and took center stage at 7 p.m. Larsson didn’t go to college, she said, so she was excited to perform at UF for around 250 students.
By the end of her set, the crowd — now a bit bigger and filled with energy — buzzed with anticipation for Two Friends, a dance-pop duo composed of best friends Matt Halper and Eli Sones.
The two took their place atop a DJ booth that projected colorful graphics and smoke cannons. They mashed popular songs such as “Eye of the Tiger” and “Titanium” in an upbeat set that later featured a saxophone solo.
Rhys Vickers, a 20-year-old UF exchange student from Melbourne, Australia, who is studying applied mathematics, sat observing the crowd from a distance. The display was a cool site to see on a college campus, he said.
“The lighting and smoke was nice,” Vickers said. “I wasn't in the crowd. But from what I heard and saw…it was great.”
Students in the pit were bathed in sweat and neon lights, cheering, dancing and mounting friends' shoulders for a better view.
To Sean Chung, a 24-year-old UF exchange student also from Melbourne who is studying marine biology, the concert was exactly what students needed to ring in the season and fall back into the swing of things after Spring Break.
“I think it's important to give students [these] events, as they enforce their college identity,” he said. “[It] makes them proud of their university.”
Chung was happy to find himself at this event — and in the middle of the crowd.
However, he said, he felt SGP’s Spring opener could have been advertised better.
“I believe they anticipated more attendees, but [they were] possibly missing strong social media advertising,” Chung said.
Chung only found out about the event just a few hours before it started, he said.
Once the event ended, the bright lights dimmed and the music faded as students began to shuffle back to the reality of the Spring semester, perhaps wondering who the next artist SGP brings to campus could be.
Contact Sydney at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @sydajohnson15