ABBA fans jive at tribute concert

A couple breaks the ice and steps on the dance floor first as the band plays behind them at Sunday's Scripps Presents ABBA tribute concert on the Bowling Green Lawn. Claremont residents and Scripps College students joined together for an afternoon of fun and dancing. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk
A couple breaks the ice and steps on the dance floor first as the band plays behind them at Sunday’s Scripps Presents ABBA tribute concert on the Bowling Green Lawn. Claremont residents and Scripps College students joined together for an afternoon of fun and dancing. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

Michael Roccia
Staff Writer

Scripps College’s signature public events program, known as Scripps Presents put on an electrifying ABBA tribute concert as part of their Family Weekend events at 1 p.m. on Saturday, located on the school’s Bowling Green Lawn.

About 250 people were in attendance for the tribute concert and were excited to listen to the music of an older generation. Guests were dancing, jiving and having the time of their lives. 

Scripps College junior English and theater major Izzy Gustitus sings her heart out on stage after members of the ABBA tribute band called her up to join them because noticed her in the crowd singing along to every song. Gustitus impressed the band and crowd as they cheered her on. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

Lana Scott, one of the two frontwomen of the show, said she loved performing at Scripps College because of the lively audience.

“This is my fourth time singing at Scripps and every time the response is really great,” Scott said. “I just look out and I see smiling faces of these young people and it gives me energy.”

The band that performed the tribute concert was made up of six different artists who all had an affinity for not just performing, but also the powerful and touching music that ABBA has created. 

“We love coming together and doing shows like this,” Scott said. “This was fun because a lot of us were already fans of ABBA, but we got to learn and grow and discover new songs, so I became a bigger fan by just doing the show today.”

Some of the concert goers were singing along at the top of their lungs to the catchy lyrics, while others could not help themselves from dancing along to the infectious beats. When asked why she thought ABBA’s music has this effect on people, Scott chalked it up to how talented the band really was.

“I think ABBA is much more genius than maybe people in our day give them credit for,” Scott said. “The arrangements are so thoughtful and colorful… The way they use their vocals as an instrument is amazing.”

The other frontwoman and singer of the band was Lex Cole. Alongside Scott, they recreated the chemistry that Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog portrayed in the actual group. Cole wanted to bring her own unique style and presence to the stage while honoring what fans have come to know and love about the Swedish band. 

“We were gonna dress the part,” Cole said. “We try to add in just a dash to make it a little bit more our own without taking away from the original, but I think once we started everyone was like this is good… this is so sick.”

Junior theater major Jordan Bucknell and junior English major Saylor Cole from Scripps College groove within the crowd to the “Cotton Eye Joe” dance Sunday at the Bowling Green Lawn for the ABBA tribute concert. Students danced near the stage while families and local residents sat on lawn chairs behind. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

The show lasted 90 minutes, which was plenty of time for the crowd to fully immerse themselves into the show and engage with the band on stage. The crowd seemed timid at first, but it wasn’t long before the first person went up to the stage and began dancing to jump start the vibrant energy that was sustained throughout the event.

“At the very beginning we had a couple come up and they were the first couple on the dance floor, it was when I sang Fernando,” Cole said. “I think that just enticed people to slowly start coming up. By the end we had everybody on the dance floor.”

Many of the people in attendance had a great time spending their Sunday afternoon singing some of their favorite songs.

Izzy Gustitus, a sophomore English and music major at Scripps College explained how it was the next best thing to seeing the actual ABBA perform.

“They have the best vibe,” Gustitus said. “They are so lively, energetic, sweet and the lead singers, oh my goodness, they are fabulous. The real ABBA can’t do it anymore, so it just means that the music has to sing through some other people that are still rockin.”

Many of the guests shared that same sentiment. Nichola Monroe, a freshman economics major at Scripps College explained how the band and crowd made the concert a great time.

“I mean ABBA is just fun and the band captured that,” Monroe said. “I also came for the dancing, cause Scripps girls; we always dance. If they don’t know who ABBA is, they better come learn.”

The tribute concert transported the guests back to the golden age of disco and was able to bond different generations through music. 

Michael Roccia can be reached at

Junior theater major Jordan Bucknell, junior English major Saylor Cole, junior science technology major Marcella Bustamante and junior psychology major Zoë Stephens from Scripps College embrace during the ABBA tribute concert on Sunday afternoon at the Bowling Green Lawn at as part of Scripps Presents. The band and guests sang and danced along to some of ABBA’s greatest hits. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

Michael Roccia is a junior communications major with a concentration is public relations. This is his first semester as a staff writer for the Campus Times.

Sarah Van Buskirk is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. She is the Spring 2024 editorial director for the Campus Times and has recently served as editor-in-chief, sports editor and staff writer. She is also currently a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine, and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine.

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