Banks brings game to Quad

Thousands of students came out on a sunny Saturday to Spring Fling, which featured an oxygen bar, sky diving simulation and a headline performance from rapper Lloyd Banks on University Yard Saturday.

Banks, a D.C.-area native from New Carrollton, is a member of 50 Cent’s rap group G-Unit. Banks took the stage at about 8:30 p.m., a few minutes after students started booing to get the show started. The event began at 3 p.m. and was scheduled to end at 9 p.m.

Banks spent much of the show trying to excite the crowd – at one point telling audience members he would pay them $1,000 to “smack” people who did not have their hands up. Banks also led the audience to chant “Fuck the Police,” after telling the crowd that event organizers requested that he not use profanity on stage. Other antics from Banks and his on-stage entourage of about 10 people included calling an audience member “fatty.”

Some students complained about Banks’ late start and short performance, which ended before 9:30 p.m. Banks also spent time promoting his CD, along with the rest of G-Unit’s catalogue. He also criticized former G-Unit rapper The Game, who had a conflict with the group earlier this year. PB considered featuring The Game for Spring Fling before booking Banks.

“It was like the 30 second sound clips you hear when you buy a CD online. He plugged the CDs too much,” freshman Eric Soucie said.

Due to the show’s late start, Banks pulled Wiegand on stage to tell the crowd, “the city wanted us to stop at nine, but we’re going to go to 10.”

Banks’ ended the show by saying, “I know that in school they tell you don’t do drugs, so give them to me.”

The University paid Banks “on par with past performances,” Wiegand said. In an interview last week, PB’s parties co-chair Josh Hartman said the event’s cost doubled this year.

Concerts chair Aimee Schulman said PB typically tries to get up-and-coming artists for Spring Fling. Last year’s performer, Kanye West, has since won two Grammy awards.

The event featured other performers including two student bands, Moneyshot and The Sunday Mail.

Attendance rose by more than 1,000 people compared to last year’s event, said Program Board Executive Chair Eric Wiegand. PB, which organized the event, tallied attendance by counting each time a person entered University Yard. Some students entered the Quad multiple times during the day, meaning the PB’s total attendance number – 6,842 – is inflated.

PB’s parties co-chair Karleen Krenicky said they decided to include sky diving simulation and an oxygen bar this year to “appeal to everyone and make sure that people weren’t bored.” Spring Fling also featured free food and games.

“As a graduating senior, I couldn’t be happier to step down on such a high note. All day we were amazed,” Wiegand said.

He added that his organization had been planning Spring Fling since December and “accomplished all of their goals.”

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