Extravaganza will forego quantity for quality this year by cutting the number of groups from the traditional 10 to four big-name bands and one local favorite.

The 17th annual free music festival, organized by Associated Students Program Board, will take place Sunday, May 15, in Harder Stadium. Doors will open at 1 p.m. and the show will run from 2 to 7 p.m., two hours shorter than last year’s Extravaganza. The show’s headliners are Busta Rhymes, the Walkmen, RJD2, Damian Marley and one local band, to be determined in a battle of the bands that will occur later this month. The festival will be open and free to the community as well as UCSB students.

Special Events Coordinator Kelly Brennan-Kleyn said that instead of having five headlining performers accompanied by five local performers, as in recent years, ASPB is cutting costs by hosting a battle of the bands on April 20 in the Hub to fill the one spot for a local act at Extravaganza. ASPB will charge a $5 admission fee to the battle, which will help pay for security and administration issues. Brennan-Kleyn said all the changes this year will help save ASPB money.

“By cutting costs [by] not hosting local bands we were able to save more money for security and police needed for the event,” Brennan-Kleyn said.

Concert coordinator Eric Freedman said the event will be funded by money left over from student lock-in fees and will probably attract 4,000 to 10,000 people. There will be about 70 police officers and Community Service Organization officers present at the event to enforce security. Last year, Extravaganza cost $100,000 and attracted around 7,000 people.

The nature of the festival has changed since the first Extravaganza in 1988 because of current restrictions of alcohol and the festival’s changing emphasis toward better-known headliners, Freedman said.
“The one thing that has remained constant about the festival is it always has a mix of different music styles,” he said.

In its early years, the festival featured more obscure, local bands and the cost of hosting the event was considerably lower than it has been in recent years.

Along with musical performances, Freedman said the event’s festivities may include carnival games, street vendors and tents featuring student art that will be open to the public.