Sun God crowd breaks record

    The 22nd-annual Sun God festival set a record attendance with over 16,000 people watching the evening concert at RIMAC Field, organizers of the event said.

    “That’s the most people at a Sun God concert ever,” A.S. Commissioner of Programming Rishi Shah said, attributing the popularity of headlining rapper Busta Rhymes.

    “So many people were there for Busta; everybody was going crazy,” Shah said.

    Once doors opened at 5 p.m., Over It, Dubbeats and the Bronx warmed up a crowd that was steadily streaming in. In between the opening acts, eight skydivers from the UCSD Skydiving Club dove from the sky and landed on RIMAC Field. At 7:30 p.m., hip-hop artists Clipse took the stage and played their familiar hits as well as new songs off their upcoming album Hell Hath No Fury to an enthusiastic crowd.

    After Clipse finished their set, indie band the Moving Units drew audiences to the side stage with their disco-punk sound. The band, which had played at the Coachella festival on May 1, was familiar to many in the dancing crowd.

    In the meantime, many were entertained by the other attractions RIMAC Field had to offer. Food options included pizza, hamburgers, kettle corn and funnel cake; concertgoers lined up in between acts. Others enjoyed inflatable slides and climbing walls, trampolines and other carnival attractions between the sets.

    At 9 p.m., students headed back to the main stage when ska-punk band Goldfinger played. The band opened with the theme to “Rocky,” featuring a basketball-jersey-and thong-wearing drummer, Darrin Pfeiffer, before launching into the music. During the set, the band played a string of familiar songs and covers. Lead singer Kelly Lemieux told the crowd that they loved San Diego for the “great surf, beautiful women and crowds.”

    Lemieux had said before the show that the band promised “partial nudity, fire and violence,” some of which came true during the set. Pfeiffer, still clad in a Kobe Bryant basketball jersey and thong, took centerstage to sing the Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” and during the band’s last song, the cymbals on the drum set were lit on fire.

    Toward the end of the set, Lemieux said that he wanted to see how drunk the crowd was and asked someone to come on stage and eat a Twinkie out of Pfeiffer’s behind. One attendee volunteered to do so, ate half the Twinkie and leapt back into the crowd. Pfeiffer ate the other half.

    Ska band RX Bandits were the last to play at the side stage, helping warm up the crowd for Busta Rhymes.

    “I really enjoyed RX Bandits because of their type of music,” Eleanor Roosevelt College student Jessica Mefford said.

    At 10:30 p.m., the crowd started heading over to the main stage to listen to Busta Rhymes. After a half hour of listening to the DJ spin and play to the crowd, Busta took the stage at 11 p.m. After his first song, Busta started to yell at the crowd.

    “Get your motherfucking hands up,” he said, waiting for the crowd to obey before he proceeded with the music.

    “Busta Rhymes was worse than I thought he’d be because he insulted the crowd, the DJ was awful and there were pauses during all the songs,” Earl Warren College student Jen Water said.

    Others enjoyed the music.

    “I’m having a good time,” Palomar College student Carlos Aldrete said. “Busta Rhymes is my favorite.”

    During his hour-long set, Busta played many of his popular songs, heckled the crowd for not knowing the lyrics to his songs and demanded that the crowd share “all the weed.”

    Most students said they enjoyed the concert, but a few showed some discontent.

    “Sun God was fun, but overall, there needs to be better control of the crowd,” Thurgood Marshall College student Susan Ung said.

    Ung added that many who were at the front of the stage from the beginning of Sun God were pushed to the back once Busta Rhymes took the stage.

    “Having no beer garden is a joke,” John Muir College student Blake Davidoff said.

    However, many said they enjoyed the concert regardless.

    “The show was fun, as always,” Marshall student Tassia Cardona said. “It’s a chance for UCSD to stop being geeks and just chill out.”

    Organizers were also pleased with the event. Shah, who served as A.S. festivals co-coordinator before recently taking over as commissioner, credited University Events Office production manager Steve Evans, who dealt with the concert’s sound and security among other tasks, with much of the event’s success. This was Evans’ last year after helping with the concert for 15 years, according to Shah.

    The side stage in particular was a big success, according to Alex Kushner, the outgoing A.S. commissioner of programming who was recently replaced by Shah.

    “We just started the idea last year and expanded it this year by adding national touring artists,” Kushner said. “It was amazing. The entire crowd was moving from one stage to another throughout the night.”

    Kushner said the show, from the production standpoint, went smoothly.

    “It was one of the smoothest events in my four years here, from the daytime events to the nighttime events,” Kushner said. “Every band would get off the stage and be like, ‘That was amazing.’ Goldfinger said that this was one of the most amazing crowds they had played to. It was just bigger and better than it ever was.”

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