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In two weeks, you will be crowding at the on-campus box office to buy tickets to A.S. Council’s Winter Triton Festival, then eagerly cramming yourself into Price Center West Ballroom to watch headlining comedians Donald Glover and Dat Phan.

Or so A.S. Council hopes. And if the Concerts and Events office manages to promote the event and coordinate all its moving parts, this might just be what happens.

On Feb. 5, the council will be hosting the first annual Winter Triton Festival. This will be the first full-scale Winter Quarter event since WinterFest, which was cancelled three years ago after repeatedly abysmal attendance.

On the surface, WTF seems to be the key to a lot of council’s event-planning problems.

Concerts are great and all, but the atmosphere can get too hectic at times, thanks to the impossibility of finding friends in the crowd, the mass of sweaty bodies and the bass-consumed music, so the comedy event is a good compromise between entertainment and feasibility.

This event will cost less than any other major event A.S. Council puts on. The total cost — including security, the venue, labor and talent — is estimated at $31,980. That’s a pretty diminutive sum compared to the $153,000 in student fees we shelled out for FallFest, or Sun God, at $530,000.

Of course, it could be that WTF is the least expensive quarterly council event because there is no sustainable funding for it. But because of this, there is no permanent fund in the A.S. budget to pay for WTF in the future, so if council wants to make the festival a yearly tradition without taking from its own reserves, it’ll need to find a long-term method of funding, which could mean student fees.

The event is funded entirely by the council’s mandate reserves (meaning it takes from the council’s backup money and not student fees).

The reduced cost of having comedians instead of musical acts may be a great way to get quality entertainment for less. Standup comedy shows have been wildly successful at other campuses, like UCLA’s sold-out comedy Campus Events Commission speakers series featuring Aziz Ansari this past May.

The idea of bringing a comedy event to UCSD was introduced after the popularity of comic acts featured at last year’s Sun God Festival, according to event organizers Brian Wong and Kristina Pham.

One of the comedians who performed at Sun God, Donald Glover, is returning to do a set at WTF. His claim to fame is his role on NBC’s “Community,” and as a writer for “30 Rock” and has had his own stand-up special on Comedy Central. Dat Phan, the original winner of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” will also be performing.

The talent, for one, should be spectacular. Wong’s office should push the brand names that come with the talent, such as “Community” and “Last Comic Standing,” because while students may not know the comedians by name, the shows they appear on are certainly worth a double take.

But the fact that the only thing that’s confirmed is the talent and the location is alarming — especially given that the event is in only two weeks.

According to Oliver Zhang, Media Assistant of the A.S. Concerts and Events office, no further details will be released until everything is confirmed. This means less information for everyone, and less information means less buzz and less success.

While event organizers claim WTF has been promoted by teaser posters — and although there will be future advertising now that the event’s talent has been revealed —  the fact that nobody on campus has seen these advertisements is not comforting. Most of the students have no idea what the Winter Triton Festival is, which means that the AVP of Concerts and Events, Brian Wong, only has two weeks to get the entire school excited for the event, lest it follow WinterFest’s dismal legacy.

One can only hope that it won’t be as bad as last spring’s Sun God advertising campaign that involved distributing bookmarks with images of the artists on Library Walk. Stand-up comedy is an interactive and intimate art, with an active audience essential to the performance’s feel and direction.

The biggest mistake Wong could have made, and has made, was to schedule the performances in the Price Center West Ballroom, with the option of viewing a live feed of the show at The Loft for overflow.

WTF is supposed to be an event for the entire school, yet this venue has a capacity of just over 850. For a ‘big’ winter event, that figure is pretty exclusive. While watching the show squished in the 200-person Loft on a wide screen doesn’t seem like much of a consolation prize, assuming high attendance, those students will be lucky to see the show at all.

Free for students and funded by previous classes, this event might have otherwise been worthy of total praise. The performers are sure to be great, and WTF will offer students entertainment they normally wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise.

But the Concerts and Events office needs to get it together immediately to build the kind of hype that will bring students to PC West in droves come Feb. 5. No one wants to attend an event without knowing what there is to look forward to.


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