Associated Students Concerts & Events committee members discussed events and issues surrounding this year’s Sun God Festival at an open forum last Friday, Jan. 18 in Price Center East.
Festivals Director for ASCE Andrea Hsueh and Campus Events Manager Alex Kushner led the discussion, focusing on Sun God’s midway stage events, music performances, and health and safety. Several students and faculty members attended the forum.
The committee expressed concern over Sun God’s daytime events, and the challenge to keep students on the field throughout the day.
“If students are only coming to see one or two shows [and] then leaving, we aren’t doing our job to keep them entertained, and it’s a waste of money,” Kushner said.
With the help of the midway stage, ASCE hopes to entertain students with activities and performances besides music, such as comedy performers. The midway stage also serves as a platform for student performers, giving them a chance to showcase their own talent.
“It’s not just about music anymore. We want to make it memorable, that’s our challenge,” Kushner said. “A lot of festivals across the nation that are really successful aren’t just about the bands.”
ASCE discussed the pressure to present fresh and exciting musical artists students will enjoy. Comparing Sun God to other music festivals such as Coachella, Kushner explained that one of the biggest challenges is finding music artists who will appeal to the majority while trying to determine what the next “big thing” in music will be.
“We have a list of names that came here before they got big,” Kushner said. “Hopefully people see that any one of these new artists could be the next big thing.”
Macklemore, a hip-hop artist who performed at last year’s festival, Kushner explained, has gained popularity since May. Other well known past performers, such as No Doubt, reached mainstream success when they released their “Tragic Kingdom” album and “Just a Girl” single a year after their 1994 Sun God performance.
“I feel pretty confident about the direction we are going, and I think the students are going to be excited,” Hsueh said. The committee expressed some concerns regarding health and safety at the festival, focusing primarily on drinking and party life at The Village transfer student housing.
“That’s the biggest challenge with us — the accountability measures,” Hsueh said.
Hsueh discussed the issue of students missing music and events due to intoxication and drinking early in the day. ASCE pushed back the festival’s start time this year in attempt to keep students from drinking during early hours before the festival. ASCE hopes that its “Don’t Miss the Music” campaign will help and encourage students to be safe and responsible on and off the festival field this year.
ASCE is currently in the process of creating new ways to enhance and encourage safety at this year’s Sun God Festival, with the possibility of a student volunteer program.
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