Over 2,000 Shut Out of FallFest

    Rapper Lupe Fiasco performed before a crowd of 4,500 at FallFest Oct. 3. The concert, which filled RIMAC Arena to maximum capacity, saw nearly 2,000 people turned away at the door. Crowds outside the event grew restless, throwing objects and instigating inflammatory chants against the A.S. Council.

    This year’s FallFest drew the annual campus event’s largest crowd in recent years ­— filling RIMAC Arena to its 4,500 capacity and forcing event organizers to turn away thousands of would-be attendees.

    Headliner Lupe Fiasco attracted about 6,500 to the annual Associated Students-run festival on Oct. 3.

    After ushering in the initial flood of students and about 70 percent of guests who had purchased tickets, event organizers and the UCSD Police Department shut down the entrance to the venue because maximum capacity had been reached and the outside crowd had become unruly. Associate Vice President of Programming Garrett Berg estimated that security turned away about 2,000 of those waiting in line.

    Groups of students who had been denied entry gathered outside the entrance to voice their protest. Expressions of disapproval included a resounding chant of “Fuck A.S.!,” rumors of a plan to bum-rush the venue gates and the pelting of a glass bottle at security personnel.

    “It was really disappointing,” Sixth College junior Jeffrey Kawakami said, comparing the situation to the 2007 Sun God Festival, which gave similar priority to those with pre-purchased tickets. “I was really looking forward to seeing Lupe, and I feel that most students should have gotten in.”

    Although Berg deemed the event a success in terms of its popularity, he expressed disappointment at the number of people who were turned away.

    “By the time the doors had opened, the line stretched from the entrance to all the way past the end of RIMAC Field,” Berg said. “We let in all of those people and most that had arrived by 8:30 p.m. It wasn’t something I agreed with, and at the end of the day safety had to trump customer service.”

    To avoid similar situations occurring in the future, the A.S. Council is considering plans to either limit the number of tickets sold or not sell tickets at all.

    Limiting the number of tickets sold, however, may make it impossible to book popular acts that come with high pricetags. According to Berg, the 800 tickets sold for $18 each to guests, graduate students, alumni, staff and faculty funded a significant portion of the event.

    “Without that bringing funding in, we wouldn’t be able to get an act like Lupe Fiasco,” Berg said, explaining that if the A.S. Council decides not to sell tickets to FallFest in the future, students would have to pay to make up for the funding gap. “We want to sell some tickets, but [not so many that it forces us] to turn away a significant number of students.”

    The council will also look into holding events with high attendance expectations on RIMAC Field. The field has a maximum capacity of 20,000, but gives priority to sporting events, and there were two during this year’s FallFest.

    “It won’t be easy to attain, but we will be looking into it,” Berg said, reminding students to arrive to events early when space is limited. “Whether it’s the Loft or RIMAC Field, we’re always going to have to turn away people if everyone arrives.”

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