Extravaganza 2019 is officially in the books. With a diverse lineup and better-than-expected weather, UCSB’s venerated music festival succeeded in drawing an energized crowd as thousands of Gauchos descended on Harder Stadium for a Sunday afternoon of great music and quality time with friends.
Arguably the flagship event for the A.S. Program Board, Extravaganza takes place every year toward the end of Spring Quarter. There is always much hype surrounding the concert, and this year was no different. After the lineup was announced a week in advance, the campus was buzzing with excitement as students commended the eclectic group of artists slated to perform.
From the moment Harder Stadium opened its gates, the line of eager and animated students was unrelenting and at times grew to be chaotic under the conditions, snaking its way down the street and past the adjacent baseball field. Upon entering, concertgoers melted into the throng as they found their friends sprawled out on the lawn or laughing by the bleachers. Various campus organizations manned the white campus tents lining the field, where students were able to purchase refreshments and even stock up on free wristbands and reusable water bottles blazoned with the event logo.
The honor of opening this year’s Extravaganza was designated to Peach Pit, a niche indie band hailing from Vancouver. Despite being relatively unknown in comparison to the other performers, this band boasts a modest yet dedicated following, as evidenced by the attendees who showed up early just to catch their set. The band’s dreamy surf sound set the mood for the rest of the balmy Sunday afternoon, as the stadium reverberated with the euphonious acoustics of the guitar and the vibrant echoes of the drum set.
Next up was L.A.-based indie pop singer Empress Of, who received wider recognition for her recent collaboration with Khalid on the track “Suncity.” For an artist still on the rise, Empress Of had an impressive stage presence, captivating the crowd with her flair and authenticity throughout the set. Many audience members were not familiar with her music, but this did not stop them from waving their arms to the rhythm as they attempted to sing along, which was a testament to the artist’s infectious energy as a performer.
Deorro took to the stage shortly after and was met with an audience primed for the rest of the show. The EDM powerhouse undoubtedly raised the energy within the stadium to fiery new heights, as Gauchos continued to mob the stage with each and every exhilarating beat drop. During his hour-long act, Deorro remixed pretty much every club anthem of the century, and never once failed to send the delirious, alcohol-fueled crowd into a state of elation. Wrapping up his set with a mix of T-Pain’s iconic “Buy U A Drank,” Deorro turned around and asked the raving masses for a picture, to which they enthusiastically obliged.
While not the headlining act in name, Aminé’s performance shone through the others as his effervescence and synchrony with the audience was unparalleled. DJ Madison LST, Aminé’s tour DJ, came out on stage to hype up the crowd before the Portland rapper took to the mic. Aminé was the festival’s biggest draw for concertgoers, and when asked if they were ready for him to come out, they responded by erupting into deafening cheers of endorsement. Sporting a black graphic sweatshirt and chains, the rapper prefaced his performance with a special request for the audience. “When I say ‘You’re beautiful,’ I want you all to say ‘I know!’” he roared over the massive turnout. Aminé then kicked off his performance with a rendition of his song “Yellow,” followed by several tracks off his sophomore album ONEPOINTFIVE, including “RATCHET SATURN GIRL” and “SHINE.” He also threw in a few fan favorites off of his debut project Good For You, including the playful pop-rap hybrid “Spice Girl” and, of course, a sparkling piano rendition of “Caroline,” the multi-platinum record that sent him through the ranks of the hip-hop scene.
The real showstopper, however, was Aminé’s explosive performance of “REEL IT IN.” Here came his second request of the night: “I want everyone here to get up and mosh!” The rapper’s wish was the crowd’s command as the area in front of the stage transformed into a blur of sweaty bodies slamming into each other and the air was filled with the resounding roar of the crowd belting the lyrics. Fans were not shy with their acclaim as Aminé signed off for the evening.
At this point, the mob that had formed around center stage started to swell as the stream of concertgoers entering the arena picked up the pace. This year’s Extravaganza headliner, Playboi Carti, was scheduled to go on at any moment, and no one wanted to miss a single second of the Atlanta rapper’s act. Either due to tardiness or deliberately coaxed anticipation, Carti took the mic an hour and a half late. In the face of cramped muscles and a brief drizzle, the audience was no less thrilled when he finally arrived on stage, as people elbowed their way through to get as close to the action as possible.
A man of few words, Carti simply mumbled something into the microphone before opening his set, feeding off the energy almost palpable in the air. Instead of performing tracks in their entirety, the rapper chose to sample several verses from his extensive repertoire, including “Half & Half” and “dothatshit!” from his eponymous debut mixtape as well as “FlatBed Freestyle” and “R.I.P. Fredo” of follow-up album Die Lit. Carti capped Extravaganza with “Magnolia,” his most viral track to date, and never have more people simultaneously Milly Rocked than that evening at Harder Stadium.
Overall, this year’s Extravaganza delivered on its promise to provide Gauchos with an enjoyable escape from the mundane Sunday routine and the impending stress of finals season. Despite the less than ideal queue to enter the venue, the event was complete with a sweeping lineup that appealed to a wide range of music lovers and time with friends under the sun. UCSB’s personalized Coachella will surely be missed, and here’s looking at next year’s festival weekend.
Correction: In a previous version of this article, “Playboi” was spelled “Plaboi” in the headline.
Siavash Ghadiri is a senior biopsychology student at UCSB, and the current Photo Editor of The Daily Nexus.
His love for the art began with enrollment in a 35mm darkroom photography class at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, California. His experience crosses many niches, including street photography, landscape photography, portrait photography, music photography, and photojournalism.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.