Festival Plants 4,000 Roots


    The Roots were electric crowd-pleasers as FallFest’s hip-hop headlining act.
    (Photos by Jaclyn Snow/Guardian)

    This year’s FallFest
    drew one of the biggest concert crowds in recent memory despite the A.S.
    Programming Office’s decision to make the event exclusive to UCSD students.

    Attendance at the Oct. 12
    concert in RIMAC Arena peaked at about 4,000 students when headlining act the
    Roots came on stage, according to Festivals co-Coordinator Garrett Berg.

    Unlike past FallFests, the concert was closed
    to nonstudents to attract higher-quality acts like the Roots at more affordable
    rates, Berg said.

    “The decision was
    somewhat out of our control,” Berg said. “Our deal with the Roots was that it
    would be an entirely closed-campus show so it wouldn’t affect the outside
    market.”

    With the agreement in
    place, the Roots agreed to lower their fees and bring the act into the price
    range of the festival’s $70,000 budget. However, some students expressed
    frustration over the exclusion of nonstudents.

    “I’m pissed I wasn’t
    allowed to bring guests,” Sixth College freshman Lizanne Koch said. “I called
    and complained to A.S. about this earlier, but I came anyway.”

    The restrictions seemed
    to have little impact on attendance, with the Roots drawing a larger student
    audience this year than Hot Hot Heat in 2006. There was a similar-sized crowd
    at 2004’s Jimmy Eat World. However, according to Berg, Yellowcard’s performance
    in 2005 brought out more attendees.

    The Prayers, a
    small-time local band, opened the show to a crowd of 1,000. During the set,
    showgoers crowd-surfed and started mosh pits that continued into the next act,
    K23 Orchestra.

    “I like that [K23
    Orchestra] were conscious about the world, like social issues,” Thurgood
    Marshall College senior Shannon Delaney said.

    The band’s mix of jazz and spoken word was a transition
    between pop-oriented Prayers and self-proclaimed legendary hip-hop group the
    Roots.

    “More hip-hop artists
    should bring back that live sound,” Revelle College senior Daniel Borca said of
    the Roots. Berg said the Roots’ performance was a definite showstopper.

    “Both the Prayers and
    the K23 Orchestra really got the crowd going, and then of course came the
    Roots,” Berg said. “They are an unbelievable act to see live, and every last
    note had the students moving. From the packed floor to our own staff behind the
    scenes, everyone was having a great time.”

    The crowds came out in
    full force for the Roots, filling RIMAC Arena’s floor to nearly full capacity.
    A sousaphone player and congos were on stage with the Roots — both new
    additions to the band’s usual lineup. The group’s set lasted over an hour and
    covered the spectrum of their catalog. Go Get a Late Pass played a version of
    Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War,” during which attendees held up lighters in
    reponse to the song’s antiwar sentiment.

    “The show was a huge
    success,” Berg said. “We had an incredible turnout despite the lack of student
    guest tickets and the fact that we were competing with Soma’s Rilo Kiley show,
    as well as the end of
    Rush Week.”

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