Just because an activity is free does not mean one is obligated to get off one’s lazy ass and participate. Take rolling in shards of broken glass in the streets of Isla Vista. It’s free! Buuuuut, one should not do it.

Extravaganza is UCSB’s annual concert put on free of charge by Associated Students Program Board. The all-day affair is usually held on Rob Field or, more recently, in Harder Stadium, and is littered with vendors, outdoor activities like rock-climbing walls, and half-sober Gauchos.

In the past, Extravaganza has been a successful launchpad for artists ready to hit it big (the Roots in 1998, Jack Johnson in 2001) and even a safe retirement home for the once legendary (the Breeders in 2002). This year, though, Extravaganza looks like nothing more than a deflated party balloon, reminding UCSB students of the festivities that could have been.

For starters, let’s take the headliners. Dilated Peoples are a hip hop outfit with ties to some of the most prolific of today’s hip hop scene. Artsweek has personally seen them alongside the Roots and at last year’s Coachella festival, where their emcees wilted next to their DJ, Babu. Their 2001 release, Expansion Team, had major backing from Capitol Records and a wee bit of record play but failed to make much of a lasting dent in anyone’s memory. With so much amazing hip hop coming from camps like Definitive Jux, who seems to have no trouble playing at other Santa Barbara venues, it seems like a random dip into the hip hop jar.

Artsweek also recently checked out a Slightly Stoopid show at Velvet Jones and almost ran fleeing from the ass clowns on stage that demanded all the women in attendance “show their tits!” (to which, it must be added, two oversized men in the front gladly lifted shirts) This poor man’s Sublime is even more proud of the fact that they smoka that ganja than their Skunk Records predecessors, but without the unique sound. If their name isn’t reason enough to feel embarrassed for being a totally stoked fan, then take note of the fact that they’ve got a DJ (strike one) who’s named “Doze” (strike two).

Eve 6 and Nerf Herder haven’t graced Artsweek’s sights much lately, likely because both were filed away on soundtracks to the crappier years of early high school. Nerf Herder made its dent in pop culture history by playing the theme from the “Buffy” TV series. And then everybody stopped caring. Far more offensive is Eve 6, the wuss rockers beloved by acne-caked preteen girls who thought they had discovered alternative rock. Artsweek actually divorced an old roommate over his staunch support of the guys who made “Inside Out” a hit in 1998. Eve 6, anyone with a clue rendezvoused and was through with you years ago.

There are a few gems hidden among the dollar CD bin selection this year. Though Artsweek is biased for having gone to the same high school as Dredg, they’re actually a refreshing aural pleasure and even more lovely live. There are also local flavors Kissing Tigers and Blue Room, who will be a sight for sore eyes come Saturday and hopefully tear the absent roof off the sucka.

No one likes being mean for meanness’ sake, but it was simply such a blow to emerge bright and early Monday morning (Let’s not get started on late advertising…) from the I.V. cave, hop on the cruiser and pedal past a gigantic piece of butcher paper that proclaimed one of the most dismal musical lineups to grace any UCSB stage in years. It’s not as if there are any illusions about the unbelievable drawing power a field in Goleta has, but still, it’s not as if we’re talking about Mid-Southeastern Missouri State University, right?

One can only guess how A.S. Program Board decided this lineup was one their peers would enjoy. A lack of funding could be the culprit, but Artsweek cannot rule out drunken monkeys flinging dung at a spinning wheel o’ subpar bands as the method of selection.

The group’s website describes being a member of Program Board as “one of the best experiences you could have.” But if blaring lame music at their peers is their idea of a good experience, they are mean, mean people. This past A.S. election saw the approval of a Program Board lock-in fee, meaning every student at UCSB will pay these guys one dollar each quarter starting next year. Maybe these guys can buy a copy of Spin and learn about what people are actually listening to.

Here’s to making Extravaganza 2004 a little more… extravagant?