Home-Grown Character Needed for Sun God Fest

    Illustration by Michael Capparelli/Guardian

    Like any multifaceted, long-running and intensely popular
    event, the Sun God Festival has developed a mythical quality, some amount of
    character that has been applied to the concert — and entire day.

    Now, Sun God Planning Committee members have the heady task
    of identifying and putting their arms around that character, in the hopes that
    they will be able to stave off mounting security and operational concerns.

    Identifying Sun God’s student-popular themes is easy.
    Drinking, excess and loose-minded calamity are ever-present on the day of the
    festival. Unfortunately, by now the
    theme has developed into a culture, one that is ingrained in UCSD students as
    the main impetus for Sun God. What could be better than daylong debauchery?

    The committee’s response repeats a pipe-dreamed buzzword for
    this campus: community. Students will be drawn to the event if it instills and
    cultivates a sense of belonging and tradition. A very true, but very
    unfortunate, answer. Unfortunately,
    establishing that sense of campus community is marked as the reason for almost
    every new university venture, from the Price
    expansion’s new outreach
    center to the Loft (an upcoming performance space). It has been used as the
    reason for the Student Center
    revamp, and countless other projects.

    Shouldn’t we have seen dividends by now, or is something
    wrong with the formula? This university’s approach to establishing community
    has always been forced, never achieving the natural and gradual process through
    which Sun God acquired its deeply seeded, albeit notorious, personality.

    At last week’s council meeting, Vice President of Student
    Life Donna Bean said the committee’s major factions, administrators and
    students, had reached an understanding over the vision and mission of Sun God.
    They have not publicized specific intentions or initiatives, which assuages
    many worries over the largest of changes recommended in this year’s Sun God
    Planning Report. Pushes by concerned administrators and campus departments to
    change the concert’s date, for instance, have been tabled to future Sun Gods.

    Their concern over nonaffiliates, however, makes sense. If
    the committee plans to focus on campus connectivity, curbing the non-UCSD
    presence is a natural move.

    But establishing consensus within the committee allows the
    programming department flexibility in directing the curatorial angles of the
    festival. Specifically, the programmers will have to engineer a new character
    for the festival, one that is more defined and an arm’s length away from
    off-brand, student-established perceptions.

    Force-feeding specific traditions and community-building
    events will jar students expecting a full-out party. Rather, programmers should carefully design a
    personality that relies on creative aspects of Sun God: What kind of talent is
    booked? How is it presented to the campus? And which image will best attract
    UCSD students? It is that image around which a community can gather.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    Our Goal