WinterFest Attendance Hits Lowest Point In Three Years

    The A.S. programming office has seen years of decline in WinterFest attendance, with the latest concert — featuring rapper Redman and indie artist Jack’s Mannequin — hitting its lowest number in three years.

    The concert had a turnout of about 2,400 students, according to A.S. Commissioner of Programming Eric Morris. Last year, with performers Social Distortion, Backyard Babies and KRS-One, the programming office, which is funded by student activity fees, saw only a slightly better turnout, Morris said. WinterFest in 2004, with Switchfoot, Talib Kweli and Louis XIV had more than 6,000 in attendance.

    “[Last year] was slightly higher probably by 300 or 400 people,” Morris said. “WinterFest is generally lower attended then all the festivals; for whatever reason, winter quarter just doesn’t draw as well.”

    The main draw for the programming office has been the Sun God Festival, which usually features mainstream and well-known artists. But the musical acts at this year’s WinterFest, especially Redman, left much to be desired, according to Earn Warren College sophomore Nick Norton.

    “Redman is seriously terrible and everyone knows that,” he said. “With 20,000 people, there’s no way you’re going to find a band everyone likes.”

    A long delay between acts encouraged many concert attendees to leave. Although Revelle College sophomore John Wu enjoyed the first part of the concert, he said he left, along with over half the crowd, before Redman’s set because of the wait.

    “We were tired and bored because it took so long for [Redman] to come out,” Wu said. “I would have stayed if it didn’t take forever.”

    Delays have long been a tradition for hip-hop acts at the programming office’s concerts, specifically with Ludacris’ and Busta Rhymes’ performances at the past two Sun Gods, according to Morris.

    “Notoriously with hip-hop artists, they are a little slow getting on stage — we have seen [this] with just about every hip-hop act we’ve had,” he said.

    The need to change musical sets usually calls for a 20-minute wait, but Redman extended the delay at this year’s WinterFest, Morris said.

    The programming office would not comment on the reason why the wait between acts was longer than usual.

    With only approximately 10 percent of UCSD’s undergraduates attending WinterFest, Morris said he is still pleased with the outcome.

    “I believe the all the performers played very well,” he said. “I think we put on the best show we could given the circumstances. I think it was money well spent.”

    This year, WinterFest cost each undergraduate about $2.50, according to Morris. The A.S. programming office is in position to receive more funding with a referendum that would increase activity fees by $8 per quarter.

    “Money is obviously a big thing in putting on concerts,” Morris said. “The more you have, the bigger and better things can get. We could do some great things with that.”

    John Muir College junior Grace Wang hopes that the increase can get students more excited about events and bring in better bands.

    But as for this WinterFest: “I don’t know who Redman or Jack’s Mannequin is,” Wang said.

    Readers can contact Jaclyn Snow at [email protected].

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