Drake to Headline Sun God

Erik Jepsen/Guardian

To commence the countdown to this year’s Sun God Festival on May 14, A.S. Concerts & Events scattered bookmarks with the names of five artists slated to appear on the main stage across campus earlier this week. Among the names leaked were Drake — who Associate Vice President of Concerts and Events Alex Bramwell confirmed as the event’s headliner — Michelle Branch, Thrice, Relient K and DJ Z-Trip.

The bookmarks, painted with artist portraits bearing the stylized Sun God stamp and a tip to check out http://www.sungodfestival.ucsd.edu on April 5 for the full lineup, appeared early on the morning of March 29, when members of ASCE placed them in areas such as Mandeville, Price Center and Library Walk.

Last year, the festival’s lineup was revealed over megaphone at the annual Battle of the Bands.

“Traditionally, announcing the lineup at Battle of the Bands has been anti-climactic and awkward,” Bramwell said. “This year, we wanted to do something new and fun, so we did a soft release of some of the bigger acts. We wanted people to find the artists on their own — get people talking to their friends and building the buzz.”

The unusual nature of the release left some students unsure if the musicians were officially confirmed for the festival.

“I thought they were just rumors,” Muir College senior Rebecca Holland said. “I kept hearing about Michelle Branch and Drake and seeing people update their statuses on Facebook, but I didn’t know if they were actually coming.”

Other students thought the partial release of the lineup was a mistake made by A.S. Concerts & Events.

“The story I heard was that some idiot accidentally left the flyers outside,” Marshall College senior Denice Praxidio said.

Plans for a similar viral campaign were discussed for the festival last year, but fell through due to design and printer delays.

According to Bramwell, almost all the other acts performing at Sun God are booked. He said the April 5 release of the festival’s full lineup will include other details about the event, including the layout of the event on RIMAC Field and the other three artists performing on the main stage.

“Hopefully, if everything goes as planned, we’ll have some banners around campus [on Monday],” Bramwell said. “We’re going to have a Web site launch; the Sun God Web site will be completely updated, and we’ll have a Facebook event circulating.”

In the past, A.S. Concerts & Events switched off between hip-hop and rock headliners from year to year. The decision to book Drake as the headliner following the 2009 headlining performance from hip-hop band N.E.R.D. represents a change in priorities for the 2010 festival.

“We generally flip-flop between rock and hip-hop, although that is not necessarily how it always has been,” Bramwell said. “We didn’t feel like we should settle for a less popular rock act if a better hip-hop act was available. I think Drake’s a cool headliner. He’s at his peak right now as an up and coming artist. He’s more relevant than some of the previous headliners we’ve had.”

Praxidio was enthusiastic about the lineup.

“I think the lineup is a big step up from last year,” she said. “I think this year really has something for everyone.”

Though the majority of the acts are booked by ASCE, the traditional Battle of the Bands —held April 3 at the Loft — will determine the main-stage opener.

Student bands registered online at the Sun God Web site, where other students could vote for their favorites. Voting ended March 14 and now the top five bands — Mack’N Biz, Diversion Sound, Seriously, Zephyr Riot and Mad Traffic — will compete.

Yet another musical face-off — the first ever DJ Battle Dance Party — will take place on April 2 at the Loft to determine which student deejays will spin under the festival’s dance tent.

“Last year, we had a deal with DVC where we gave them blocks of time and they chose the DJs,” Bramwell said. “We still gave DVC blocks of time early in the afternoon, but we wanted to give the DJs that we felt were the best a spot.”

A panel of five judges consisting of A.S. Concerts & Events interns and staff members will decide both the Battle of the Bands and the DJ Battle Dance Party.

“It’s a pretty good way for student deejays to get an equal chance to perform,” said, Sixth College senior Justin Park, who will compete as DJ Skyblu. “Even if you might not know the right people, you can have a shot of getting in the lineup.”

Readers can contact Janani Sridharan at [email protected].

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