A Record-Breaking Sun God

    (Andrew Oh / Guardian)

    This year’s Sun God Festival — featuring acts such as Wiz Khalifa, Jimmy Eat World, Crystal Castles and JFK of MSTRKRFT— reached a full capacity of 20,000 on May 13.

    According to A.S. Concerts and Events Media Liaison Oliver Zhang, the A.S. Concerts and Events Office ran out of student wristbands on Thursday, May 12 just before closing at 7 p.m. Of 20,000 total tickets available — the maximum capacity of RIMAC Arena, where the festival is held — 3,000 were guest tickets, down from last year’s 3,500.

    “The [wristband] line went surprisingly fast,” Marshall College freshman Bella Trouw said. “It was very organized. I was not expecting to get a wristband that quickly since the line went all the way to Peterson Hall. It went a lot faster than I expected for how long it took.”

    Despite this, all 17,000 student wristbands were distributed in just eight hours. In contrast, tickets didn’t sell out until 2:30 p.m. on the day of the festival in 2010; in 2009 about 1,200 tickets went unclaimed.

    “We did distribute all of the wristbands faster than in the past, but it’s not the first time the Sun God Festival has sold out,” Oliver Zhang said in an email.

    According to Zhang, ASCE decided to open the box office one hour earlier than the 12 p.m. advertised time to prevent early crowding. He estimates that students started lining up around 8 a.m. on Thursday.

    “In order to make the distribution process as easy and smooth as possible, we opened early to prevent unnecessary line buildup, and to get the students who were waiting in and out in a comfortable, timely fashion,” Zhang said.

    Hundreds of students sold their wristbands for profit with prices ranging from about $30-100 on networking sites such as Facebook and Craigslist.

    Muir College junior Maggie Zhang was able to get a wristband within the last hour of the box office’s operating hours on Thursday.

    “I went around 6:20 and waited less than ten minutes,” Maggie Zhang said.  “They should end [box office hours] earlier on Thursday to give people a chance on Friday.”

    The festival’s budget totals around $540,000 with $190,000 spent on talent, almost a quarter of A.S. Council’s annual $2.6 million budget drawing from the student activity fee of $47.82 per student each quarter. Last year, $690,000 was allotted for the festival, with $50,000 to cover security and $190,000 for talent. This is the second year the wristbands have been sold from a box office held on Marshall Field; previously, wristbands were distributed at 24 booths on a line that stretched from Ridge Walk to Earl Warren Mall.

    This year’s dance stage allowed for an unlimited capacity as it was an open area compared to last year’s enclosed dance tent, which closed due to overcrowding.

    “I can’t compare [the dance stage] to last year but from what I saw I really enjoyed it,” Trouw said. “The lighting was really well done and I liked that it was outdoors.”

    In addition to the new dance stage, this year’s festival offered a variety of new acts, from alternative rock band Jimmy Eat World to pop singer Mike Posner.

    Rapper Big Sean was scheduled to perform from 5:50-6:50 p.m., but did not appear until about 10:05 p.m. to perform a 40-minute set.

    According to Zhang, Big Sean was stuck in traffic coming from Los Angeles.

    “We delayed as long as we could in the hopes that he would make it in time, but when he couldn’t, we had to move on with the schedule,” Zhang said.

    Main stage acts Best Coast and Crystal Castles had notably shortened set lengths which lasted approximately a half hour each, but Zhang said that this was not the responsibility of the ASCE office.

    “Artists are entirely responsible for their own performances,” Zhang said. “We contract artists for a general amount of time but they prepare for their own sets.”

    The Midway tent included performances from dance teams such as local San Diego’s Dance Crew 220, UC Irvine’s Kaba Modern and UCSD’s Team Heist.

    “We’ve performed at Sun God a couple of years now,” Team Heist founding member and Sixth College senior Steven Saing said. “We had a good experience—the audience was pretty hyped up, everyone was energetic, and we could hear the cheers from the crowd. We don’t do many campus performances, [so] this was our chance to show UCSD what we’ve been working on. We put a lot of effort into it for UCSD.”

    As of press time, the UCSD Police Department did not respond to interview requests.

    Additional reporting by Laira Martin.

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