Extravaganza 2007 lured about 6,000 concertgoers eager to rock out with headliner T.I. yesterday at the annual Spring Quarter music festival in Harder Stadium.
Associated Students Program Board, which paid $100,000 for the event, presented Mickey Avalon, Ben Kweller, Boombox Orchestra, Suburban Legends and self-proclaimed “Rubber Band Man,” T.I. The event also featured two new additions: a mechanical bull ride and an inflatable sword-fighting arena.
The free event opened its doors to the public at 1 p.m., and community members filtered through two secured entrances, where individuals were subject to a pat down prior to admittance. Security consisted of event staffers, University of California Police Dept. officers and Community Service Organization officers who were responsible for securing the perimeter of the event, confiscating drugs, weapons and alcohol and controlling the overflowing crowd at the stage barricade.
As T.I.’s act approached around 6 p.m., hoards of fans encroached upon the stage, desperate to claim a spot in close proximity to the rap star.
The headliner asserted his presence with an affirmative stomping of both feet and a salute to the audience that sent his jewel-encrusted chains swinging and triggered a flurry of camera phones and flailing limbs.
After T.I. launched his performance with “Rubber Band Man,” many audience members began frantically scrambling onto the shoulders of others to chant the popular lyrics and catch a better view of the star.
The rapper, dubbed “The King,” also played popular tracks like “Shoulder Lean,” “Bring Em Out” and “What You Know” during his set. In between songs, the rap star paused to inform the UCSB women in the audience that while he respected their diligent study habits, his next song would be dedicated to the more debauched audience members.
“At UCSB, I bet there are a lot of girls who go to school and study and get good grades, and I appreciate that,” T.I. said. “But those of you who are not afraid to be a freak, this song is for you.”
However, following the song, T.I. said he was dissatisfied with the lack of crowd compliance to his earlier request.
“I’ll give you one more chance,” he said. “I need to see you sweat through your T-shirts so I can see your nipples.”
Another crowd-pleaser was rapper and MySpace phenomenon Mickey Avalon. During his set, two panty-clad dancers continually gyrated against him as he commanded, “One, two, three, four / get your booty on the dance floor.”
The nearly identical brunettes left his side at one point to demonstrate how to “do the Jane Fonda,” by first extending their legs behind their heads and then assisting one another in bending their legs into an explicit reverse split position, drawing screams from the audience.
Santa Barbara City College student Candice Flynn said she was not impressed by Avalon’s appearance.
“He is ugly,” Flynn said. “But his dancers — I want to bone them.”
At one point, Avalon paused to inhale the marijuana lofting up from the crowd and inquire if anyone in the audience had a joint. He also gave UCSB some practical advice after prying a frantic female tongue from his face.
“UCSB, stay in school, think for yourselves and be free,” Avalon said.
During the event, other concertgoers enjoyed Extravaganza’s newest attractions, including the inflatable sword-fighting arena and mechanical bull ride, both of which required the presence of paramedics and the signing of a liability waiver.
ASPB event staffer Lauryn Keeler was in charge of operating the bucking robotic bull. She said some students were adamant about beating the 30-second record, even at the cost of injury.
“We have had a couple of people fly off and get launched way over the edge,” Keeler, a second-year chemistry major said. “The reaction most times is, ‘My balls hurt.'”
Local band Boombox Orchestra also performed at Extravaganza, cramming nearly 40 performers on the stage, including a squad of brightly clothed female ribbon dancers.
Meg Napoli, a ribbon dancer for the band, said the group’s performance was fueled by the energy of both the performers and attractive audience.
“It was fucking awesome,” Napoli a fourth-year anthropology major said. “Funny and original. An electrifying circus. We were just dancing in the background and adding some color and the audience looked sexy.”
At the end of the day, many students in the audience expressed satisfaction with the concert. Third-year global studies major Virginia Reyes said she especially enjoyed T.I.’s performance.
“T.I. is the motherfucking shit, man,” she said. “I fucking loved it.”