Ryan Poon / The Highlander

UCR is known for having one of the best and most well-known events of the year, Spring Splash. This year’s Spring Splash was highly anticipated since it was the first in-person one after two years of the pandemic restricting student life events. The morning heat didn’t stop students from lining up at 9 a.m. for the chance to be front and center near their favorite artists. As the line snaked around the CHASS building, there were several students trying to push themselves to the front with little regard for those who were waiting for nearly two hours under the hot sun. Unfortunately, an ASPB member showed up at the line at 1 p.m., thirty minutes after the line was meant to open at 12:30 p.m., and quickly started to check people into security. 

The giveaway items included for this year were cooling towels for the heat, pins and hoodies that had an incredible design this year created by Michelle Nguyen, ASPB’s director of marketing. Rather than running to the stage, students ran to receive their merchandise for the event. Long lines began to form at the various food trucks while others enjoyed their time either going down the Kraken Inflatable Slide or riding the mechanical shark. 

Before the event officially kicked off, several ASPB members described their excitement for this year’s Spring Splash. “I expect it to be fun since it’s the first Spring Splash in over two years. This is the best line-up we’ve ever had and I really hope that this is the best Spring Splash we’ve ever hosted,” said one ASPB member. Jameson Lee, a fourth-year majoring in business marketing and ASPB’s marketing chairperson, hoped to “bring campus culture back for this year and I hope that students enjoy themselves.” 

The first performer was Spuke, a DJ from California who began his set with an unfortunately low amount of people in the crowd since the majority were getting their giveaway items. Spüke played various songs, mainly EDM music with an audience that didn’t seem to engage too much with the artist, but Spüke continued to play his tunes for an exciting experience. As Spüke ended his set, the crowd chanted Oro Solido’s name, but an issue seemed to arise since another DJ took over the time that the Hispanic band was meant to perform. Although he played notable songs such as “Bottoms Up” by Trey Songz and “Hotel Room Service” by Pitbull, the crowd was waiting to see if Oro Solido would show up. Their delay did upset some students, but it was quickly wiped away once AG Club introduced themselves. 

AG Club took the stage with members Jody Fontaine, Baby Boy and DJ Isaac Rose. The trio immediately interacted with the audience as their performance began. Baby Boy and Jody Fontaine jumped around the stage during their set and would often stand against the barrier where fans could high-five the artists. They performed popular songs such as “Brass,” “Memphis,” “Mr. Put It On” and a new song that seemed to raise the energy within the crowd. Towards the end of their set, Fontaine urged the audience to repeat “punk rock” for their song that the crowd gladly repeated back. 

Fortunately, Oro Solido eventually came out with their band and lead singer, Raul Acosta. As a fellow Hispanic, it was exciting to see a band whose music was often played at birthday parties or quinceañeras. Their uplifting and energetic songs made everyone’s hips swing, especially when they started to call out the names of various countries from Latin and Central America to engage with the audience. “El Beeper,” “Abusadura” and “Maria Se Fue (María se fue)” were just a number of iconic and rhythmic songs that the group played. Acosta’s backup singers took the opportunity to show off their best dance moves which created an exhilarating environment for those who were watching them. 

Several times throughout the show, the artists had to remind the crowd to step back. Before J.I.D took the stage, two ASPB members insisted to the crowd that they step back if they wanted to see the next performance. With a couple of minor disturbances, J.I.D took the stage with a laid-back and chill vibe. His humorous personality made the crowd laugh, yet his fast-rapping skills impressed many fans as they sang along with him. Unfortunately, two students incited a fight during J.I.D’s set that caught his attention and stated, “Y’all are supposed to be in school as a family.” His performance escalated more the second he performed “Workin Out” and “Costa Rica,” two of his most liked songs that increased the liveliness of the audience. 

The second J.I.D ended his performance, and the crowd was anxious to see this year’s headliner, Baby Keem. His anticipated performance, unfortunately, led to many people pushing their way toward the front with little respect for the people in the front who were getting squished against other students or by the barricade. Nonetheless, Baby Keem’s entrance onto the stage made the audience roar with excitement. “ORANGE SODA,” “trademark usa” and most notably “MOSHPIT,” made certain portions of the crowd either jump in chant or bob their heads to the beat. Unfortunately, the artist looked a bit disappointed when the crowd didn’t sing along to “16,” making Baby Keem start the song over again for another try. His final song, “family ties,” appeared to be the one song that the crowd enjoyed the most before the artist said his goodbyes. 

Verdict: As the first Spring Splash in over two years, it was an amusing yet exhausting experience. Though there were a few delays within the various performances, many students still seemed excited to have the annual concert back in-person, and it will be exciting to see what the school does in the future!