SPB tribute night celebrates Harry Styles, Taylor Swift


Lindsey Sobkowski

Fans of Harry Styles and Taylor Swift united on the dance floor at SPB’s tribute night.

OU’s resident Swifties and Harries united on the Gold Room dance floor at the Student Program Board (SPB) Harry Styles and Taylor Swift tribute night on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Attendees sang and danced along to tracks from each artist, basking in the glow of pink lights a Lover-era Swift would approve of and a disco ball that reflected the Styles-inspired boas many guests donned with flair. From deeper cuts to greatest hits, the fans hit every ad-lib and even formed a conga line around the room — a powerful vision of unity and the best outcomes that a shared love of music can breed.

The festivities eventually broke from the dancefloor, with guests relocating to tables adorned with cardboard cutout centerpieces of each artist for a few rounds of trivia — including one segment called “Swift or Shakespeare,” which tasked players with identifying whether a given poetic line was penned by the songwriter or the playwright.

Elsewhere, guests posed for photos with life-size cutouts of the Grammy-winning artists while rocking SPB-provided pairs of heart-shaped glasses that resembled those Styles wore in his “Watermelon Sugar” music video.

SPB mainstage director Isabella Mahuad envisaged this event after noticing significant followings for each artist across the campus community.

“My original thought was actually just Harry Styles because I noticed there’s a huge following for him – I personally know people who have gone to New York to see him and have tickets to go to Chicago and whatnot, so there’s clearly a lot of interest in Harry,” Mahuad said. “As I was talking to people, I noticed there’s a huge overlap in people who are also huge Taylor Swift fans.”

“Those are two really excited, passionate fan bases, so it just felt like it made sense to have a night of [celebrating] them together,” she continued.

The passion exhibited by those in attendance seemed to confirm Mahuad’s hunch. Isabelle Lundin and Kaylie Lukomski — two students whose individual histories of supporting Swift and Styles, respectively, initiated each other’s “indoctrination” into the other artists’ fanbase once they became best friends — shared that they felt as though this event was made just for them.

“Taylor got me into writing songs, [and] her music has always made me feel like I had a friend,” Lundin, a senior writing and rhetoric major, said. “[…] There’s something so beautiful about a song speaking to you right when you need to hear it the most, [and] Taylor’s always been that for me.”

Lukomski, a senior double majoring in linguistics and English with a minor in Chinese, expressed similar sentiments toward Styles. Having supported the songwriter and actor throughout his One Direction days and into his solo career, she shared that both his work and the community that rallies around it have been a massive source of comfort for her over the years.

“You’re not alone, because [Styles and Swift] go through the same things you do, so you can go through it with them,” Lukomski said. “[…] You make friends, also, through Harry — going to concerts and stuff, you make lifelong bonds. […] [He] brings people together.”

The SPB team conceptualized their tribute night series — of which this event comes as the first of several installments — to celebrate artists whose high level of stardom make on-campus concerts infeasible.

“[This is] a very chill event, a very fun event — a way everybody gets to dance together,” SPB operations event staffer Joey Zieman said.

The tribute night series will continue next month with an evening dedicated to Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion on Tuesday, Oct. 25, from 5-7 p.m. in the same location. The following tribute night will honor BTS and Twice on Tuesday, Nov. 29, during the same two-hour slot — this time from within the OC’s Banquet Rooms.