The University’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) allocated $80,000 — 42 percent of USG’s fall budget — to the first-ever virtual Lawnparties.
The online event, which was originally scheduled for Sept. 7, will be held on Oct. 30 and feature a headliner, student openers, Lawnparties outfit contests, and giveaways.
According to USG Social Chair Sophie Torres ’21, the headliner will be announced one to two weeks before Lawnparties. In past semesters, USG has released a list of possible artists and encouraged students to guess the headliner — a practice that may continue this year.
In a message to students on Monday, the USG Social Committee wrote that they will be “hosting one of the biggest acts Princeton has had in a long time.”
In the hopes of making this virtual Lawnparties sufficiently interactive and engaging, USG has hired a live streaming consultancy and production company, PUSH, which helped produce a number of events for the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention.
“We’re going to try to make it as interactive as possible so that it doesn't feel like you're just staring at a screen, watching the artist perform,” Torres said. “We’re going to do various giveaways ... have a ‘show us your Lawnparties outfit contest’ and ... try to see if we can get the artists to possibly interact with students.”
The $80,000 will go towards the artist, their agent, the production company, and the various giveaways.
Torres noted that USG typically spends much more on Lawnparties, and that the revised budget excludes past expenses such as food and stages.
The USG spring 2020 budget for Lawnparties was $100,000. During a typical in-person semester, the Lawnparties budget usually includes additional funding from the Alcohol Initiative and fundraising efforts.
This year’s USG budget comes from central University funds dedicated to student programming because student fees — which normally fund USG student programming — are not being charged this year.
In the spring, USG announced that it had received almost a full refund for the spring Lawnparties expenses under the condition that the headliner be retained for fall Lawnparties.
However, Torres reported that USG was released from that contract and the fall headliner will not be the same as the one scheduled in the spring.
Torres also mentioned that USG is going to solicit students to perform as opening acts through a form in the upcoming weeks.
“I think that’s like a really great way to show off various artists within our community,” she said.
USG had previously discussed opening Lawnparties to the Class of 2020 if it was held in person because they did not get to experience their final Lawnparties due to students’ dismissal from campus in March.
Torres is working on a way to open the event to the Class of 2020.
“I definitely want the Class of 2020 to have the last Lawnparties that they missed,” she said.
Duke University held a similar annual concert, featuring rapper Denzel Curry, online last week. Torres emphasized the importance of spending money on events that foster community.
“I think it’s important to have like any event that could possibly bring the community together because we’re not going to have a lot of those this year,” she said. “I think Lawnparties is a really good way to kind of simulate the community that we might have had on campus.”
Editor’s Note: This article initially indicated that USG had “promised that Lawnparties would be open to the class of 2020 if it was held in person.” USG had previously discussed the idea, but made no such promise. The ‘Prince’ regrets the error.