Associated Student Inc. (ASI) Events hosted guest artist KYLE at a concert in the University Union plaza on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 18. Coinciding with the Week of Welcome (WOW), the large attendance of the concert was met with concern involving COVID-19 precautions and other general safety issues.
KYLE has amassed 1.4 million followers on Instagram and is best known for his song iSPY, a collaboration with popular artist Lil Yachty with more than 777 million streams on Spotify.
The concert was set to start at 8:30 p.m. KYLE didn’t come out until around 8:52 p.m.
“KYLE will not come out unless you keep your fellow Mustangs safe,” a woman announced at the concert. “There are people up here that are getting squished. You’ve gotta move back. You’ve gotta move back just a little bit. I can’t let KYLE come out to this.”
Environmental Management and Protection sophomore Alex Siecke was excited to engage with freshmen students as a WOW leader prior to beginning the school year. Siecke was as excited as her WOW-ies to once again attend an in-person concert, but was surprised by the audience turnout.
“There were so many people crushed into the little UU,” Siecke said. “It just got out of control so fast. There were so many people who were drunk, or high, or a combination of the both.”
After the concert, Siecke returned to the yakʔitʸutʸu dorms along with her WOW group, and helped walk intoxicated freshmen from outside of her group to their dorms.
“It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen in an event like this, but I definitely think Cal Poly should’ve prioritized the safety of their freshmen, their WOW leaders and their students overall — and I don’t think that happened,” Siecke said.
ASI staff member and coordinator for public relations, communications and marketing Dora Mountain said that ASI worked along with the Campus Comeback committee to promote the concert during WOW leader training. WOW leaders were recommended to sign up for New Student Transition Programs (NSTP) events as a part of their daily programming for freshmen and transfer student WOW.
“Historically, when there is an event hosted by ASI Events and WOW such as a concert or a comedian, 1,500 to 2,000 students attend,” Mountain said in an email to Mustang News. “We can estimate that the KYLE concert attendees were within that range but cannot confirm that number.”
Political science freshman Tyler Coari, experienced the concert as a WOWie. Coari decided to wear his mask throughout the course of the evening, despite noticing no one else wearing their own. Coari watched the concert from the side steps of the UU and from his vantage point he quickly noticed the environment change.
“At the front of the crowd, even before any music really started to play, they were already moshing around, a few people got lifted up, there was already stuff being thrown,” Coari said.
University COVID-19 guidelines for outdoor campus events do not require masks. Coari noted that despite the event taking place outdoors, participants were practically “on top of each other” in the close quarters.
A Youtube video titled “Cal Poly SLO KYLE concert” shows the artist repeatedly telling audience members their “only job tonight is to have fun,” in addition to an audience member being briefly lifted up above the crowd.
Given conditions don’t worsen, outdoor events will continue to operate on a no-mask, no social distancing basis according to Cal Poly’s event guidelines. When inside, students are required to present their green campus daily screener and wear a mask at all times. For more information on Cal Poly’s ongoing COVID-19 protocols, visit the university’s coronavirus information page.