Sun God Succeeds Despite Setbacks

The dust has settled on another Sun God. The A.S. Concerts and Events office’s $540,000 behemoth of a concert went off with a few minor glitches, like running out of student wristbands on the first day and a few performance disappointments; but despite these small problems, Sun God 2011 was a relative success.

While the concert had its successes, student tickets were a big factor in drawing the ire of students who didn’t get their desired wristbands. A month ago, guest tickets sold out in four days. Then, the day before the festival, student wristbands ran out on the first day of distribution.

This is the third time in Sun God history that all 17,000 student tickets and 3,000 guest tickets sold out, and the first time that student tickets ran out on the first day.

It’s frustrating not to be able to bring friends to the party of the year, and worse to pay $23 in student fees for the festival and still be denied entrance. But given the “caging” of the festival on RIMAC Arena starting in 2009, and RIMAC’s 20,000 maximum capacity, there’s not much that A.S. Concerts and Events could have done to make things run more smoothly. The office can only sell as many wristbands as RIMAC can hold, and had already cut the number of guest tickets so more undergraduates could attend.

When it comes to wristbands, it’s a lose-lose situation for the organizers: Increasing the number of wristbands would lower the number of guest tickets sold. And given how poorly that strategy went with guest tickets, that solution wouldn’t exactly please everyone either.

On Thursday, sales started out on a bad note with ASCE choosing to open the line more than an hour before its announced 12 p.m. distribution time. ASCE Media Liaison Oliver Zhang claimed that this was done in order to prevent unnecessary line build up, but the move that ultimately hurt students who planned on waiting in line within the time frame set by ASCE.

Still, the line moved briskly, and was nothing compared to the epic lines that stretched all the way to Warren College in 2009. Plus, with tickets on sale for seven hours, there was time for all but students with the most packed schedules to retrieve their wristbands.

Though students are ultimately responsible for picking up wristbands themselves, ASCE could have avoided some of the anger by altering its marketing methods.

The office’s announcements that wristbands would be available on both Thursday and Friday implied that tickets would be available both days, providing a false sense of security. Instead, the office should advertise that ticket lines will open on Thursday at noon and will reopen on Friday if wristbands are still available. That way, students will feel more compelled to actually get their tickets when the lines open instead of at the last minute.

Though Sun God primarily advertises the big name artists it manages to snag, some students just came to dance. Others fled RIMAC field after mistaking Big Sean for Wiz Khalifa (according to Big Sean’s Twitter feed on Friday: “Today is just not a good day for me”).

Last year, the dance tent hit the 3,000-person capacity at 9 p.m., causing it to be shut down and cutting short DJ Z-Trip’s set. In response, ASCE decided to turn the tent into a stage instead — an open arena, flanked by pillars, that was a smaller version of the main stage. The stage lost the enclosed, club-like atmosphere of the tent, which, despite the overcrowding issue, was a crowd favorite in years past.

Still, the new, open dance stage managed to keep the character of last year’s tent without any space issues. In the end, the stage is a worthy compromise between having 1,000 students angrily try to push their way into a tiny structure and having no place to learn how to dougie at all.