Fall Fest finished on a sour note this weekend with headliner Sean Kingston ending his concert after students threw glow sticks on stage, tarnishing what organizers called an otherwise fun afternoon.
After performing about four songs, Kingston walked off stage when glow sticks – which had been provided by Program Board – were thrown on stage. Tim Miller, executive director of the Student Activities Center, came on stage and told the crowd not to throw objects and Kingston returned about 10 minutes later, but he left the stage again after another glow stick was thrown. PB released a statement after the show that said Kingston was struck by two objects thrown after he had come back on stage.
Organizers agreed that Kingston was scheduled to perform at least two more songs but disputed whether or not Kingston had finished his set. PB chair Tiffany Meehan said Kingston only missed a scheduled two-song encore, but Mike Geremia, the agent who helped PB book Kingston, said the singer cut his set by about 15 minutes.
Geremia added the singer was scheduled to do a meet-and-greet with students from PB, but Kingston declined after the show.
“I don’t know what students would get out of throwing glow sticks on the stage,” Geremia said.
Meehan described Kingston as “very upset.”
“One GW student ruined a show that thousands came to today and that’s unbelievable,” she said.
Meehan declined to discuss PB’s financial engagement with Kingston. Asked if the shorter show would effect Kingston’s compensation, Geremia said, “It’s not his fault that the show was stopped short and I’ll leave it at that.”
Meehan, who declined to answer questions by phone, said in an e-mail that many of the bands PB has brought for Fall Fest have performed without a stage on the Lisner patio with no problem. Kingston did not use a stage, and Meehan said there was no way to know if a raised platform would have prevented items being thrown or hitting Kingston.
Some students said Kingston appeared to lip sync while on stage, but Meehan said Kingston’s microphone was on and functioning.
Freshman Dan Creamer said Kingston looked “visibly upset” as he left the stage. But Creamer added that he was there to hear Kingston’s hits “Take You There” and “Beautiful Girls,” and he heard both of them.
“It wasn’t that big a deal, it was still fun with free food and good music,” Creamer said.
Many students, though, were upset that the concert ended so quickly.
“I wish it could have been longer,” freshman Hannah During said. “It’s GW, it’s not like someone’s going to take out a gun and shoot him. If he’s being paid, people should be able to throw things. Is he afraid of glow sticks?”
Meehan estimated 4,000 students attended the festivities on University Yard where, prior to Kingston’s concert, students enjoyed free food and giveaways. Though she said she was pleased with the turnout – a substantial increase over last year’s Fall Fest – Meehan was disappointed by the way Kingston’s act ended.
An inflatable jousting booth and slide lined the edges of the Yard, and companies like ZipCar and Warner Brothers sponsored booths. Meehan said there were more sponsors for Fall Fest this year than there had been in the past.
GW vocal groups like Sons of Pitch, GW Troubadours and GW Vibes also serenaded students, who said they made the best of the afternoon.
“Everyone was having a good time, except for the throwing of things,” Riana Mahmood said. “But we enjoyed the good music.”
-Alex Byers and Amy D’Onofrio contributed to this report.