Much Hullabaloo About Nothing

FallFest, like the innocent younger sibling to the over-the-top, bacchanal celebration that is Sun God, has always delighted in its slightly tamer revelry. Like the bro at the party who was quietly wasted, FallFest traded Sun God’s hedonism for a laid-back coolness, and the headliners that rocked the stage fit the image: Big Boi, Lupe Fiasco and The Roots, to name a few. But now a new, re-imagined vision of the festival appears almost too low-key to serve as our main party of the season.

After facing $75,000 in budget cuts, the A.S. Concerts & Events office is giving the 13-year-old festival a new identity, renaming it “Hullabaloo” and moving it from the early weeks of October to Nov. 18, in conjunction with Founders’ Day.

Founders’ Day, inaugurated last year with a headlining performance by Far East Movement, will take place the afternoon of Nov. 18, with Hullabaloo scheduled to follow from 6 to 11:45 p.m. Unlike FallFest, which was held at Warren Field, Hullabaloo will be held in what the event notes as “the urban center of UCSD,” Town Square and Matthews Quad — a small venue for what we’d hope is the Sun God of the fall.

Associate Vice President of Concerts & Events Oliver Zhang told the Guardian that renaming the festival was a crucial aspect of creating the new campus tradition.

“[Keeping] the name FallFest would be misleading because it is such a different event,” Zhang said. “We wanted to give this event a new life.”
Whether it’s a silly-sounding name or not, the change-up is certainly the best possible decision ASCE could have made. With the festival’s budget cut by $75,000 from the original $135,000 for FallFest 2010 to only $60,000, an event comparable to FallFest would be impossible without cutting down the scale of the event considerably.

Sure, they could have spent the smaller budget on one big headliner and scheduled free student acts to open, but instead, ASCE took the cut as an opportunity to rebrand the festival. It’s a smart move:

By disassociating the event from its old moniker, no one will even think to compare the two.

Regardless, even though ASCE made a necessary change, we’re not sure we’re so stoked on the new identity.

Part of what made FallFest one of the most enjoyable campus events of the school year was its focus on solid live acts in both hip hop and rock music, typically with one large-scale rapper and one mid-size band. Though the actual lineup hasn’t been released for Hullabaloo (more details are set to come on Halloween), the event’s description notes only a “dance” stage, implying that the music acts
will consist mainly of DJs and likeminded acts.

UCSD has no shortage of dance-centric events; DVC’s “Something Awesome” dance is this Saturday, and there are three Non-Sexist Dances per year. While these events have respectable turnouts, there’s little reason to add another event that is so similar. FallFest, on the other hand, always felt like a legitimate concert — a refreshing change of pace from the standard glow-stick waving and grinding shtick we get at every dance that can be replicated at any club.

Hullabaloo also promises to have carnival rides and food trucks littered throughout the area, further distancing the event from the more traditional concert vibes of FallFest.

And as much fun as nostalgia is, rides and cotton candy are more “Rock N Roosevelt” than an actual rager. Right now, there doesn’t appear to be much about “Hullabaloo” that’s different from, say, the All-Campus Dance.

But a party is only a party because of the guests, and it’s hard to judge Hullabaloo before we see what the turnout is like. At this point, it’s crucial that ASCE does heavy marketing for the festival.

After all, the first Hullabaloo will set a precedent for all the Hullabaloos to come, and we’re sure Zhang would rather the event be known as the upgraded FallFest than as another dance with a tongue-twister of a name.

The Facebook event already has comments from students asking about the date of FallFest. ASCE should then push the fact that Hullabaloo is our FallFest replacement, so that everyone who would have attended the old fest will at least drop by the new one out of curiosity.