Having earned a solid reputation for mixing things up, the Associated Students Program Board (ASPB) continues to impress this year when it comes to Extravaganza. Traditionally a free, all-day music festival held on a Saturday at Harder Stadium, Publicity Coordinator Becky Windsor and her other ASPB cronies associates decided there was room for improvement. Wrangling in big names like Busta Rhymes and Damian Marley, ASPB not only strayed from the traditional rock format, but also sparked new interest in its annual free festival.
“We eliminated the side stage and put more of our money into getting better main stage acts. Now we only have five performers instead of five main stage and five side stage; it’s a shorter format,” said Windsor.
Along with a smaller number of performers, the entire show will move from its Saturday mainstay to a new Sunday spot this weekend. Though not originally intended, ASPB decided to move the event in order to secure Rhymes as the headlining act.
“We wanted Busta really bad and he’s doing UC Riverside on Saturday at their festival, so it was the best date for him,” said Windsor. Not that the change in date should change the festival’s appeal. The Mid-may festival date falls right between midterms and finals to ensure maximum attendance.
Another major change this year is the shortened concert hours. Rather than having the gates open at 11 a.m. in order to accommodate 10 different set lists, ASPB managed to whittle the day down to a more palatable five-hour spread, with doors opening at 1 p.m. and the show wrapping up around 6 or 7 p.m. “We felt that the day was going too long and we wanted to keep people there,” said Windsor.
Perhaps the biggest change to this year’s format is the lack of a rock headliner for the show. Last year, hip hop artist Talib Kweli brought in large numbers who promptly left immediately after his performance, leaving the field sparse for secondary headliner MXPX. That scene was a red flag for ASPB, which then decided to focus more heavily on hip hop for Sunday’s show.
“We wanted to have different kinds of genres because in the past it’s been mostly rock, and we’ve found that hip hop and rap really bring the students here. We wanted to incorporate more of that this year. We think that Busta will do that and Damian Marley and RJD2. We still have some rock with the Walkmen, who are a really cool indie band, and the Hairbrain Scheme are a local I.V. band that won battle of the bands,” said Windsor.
For ASPB organizers, Extravaganza began in the middle of Winter Quarter. Over the past four months, board members have had the daunting task of wheeling and dealing with booking agents and bands, faxing contracts back and forth and learning the exorbitantly high cost of putting on a festival. Rather than trying to pull things together in Spring Quarter, as has been the case in years past, ASPB decided to get a jump start on booking bands in order to get the most bang for its buck. “We started early this year, and it made the difference in being able to book good acts because if you book them ahead of time it’s just so much better,” said Windsor.
If you were one of the few who spent all day rock climbing or sumo wrestling at last year’s Extravaganza, brace yourself. ASPB cut corners this year in order to bring higher-caliber acts to the main stage. All of the games and activities were eliminated in the name of cost effectiveness, but there will still be concessions and booths around the perimeter of the stadium. Vendors setting up booths this year will include Hempwise and Precious Slut tattoo parlor, which will feature glass-blowing. Campus groups will be tabling with flyers and selling food. “We’re not going to have the games, but people are welcome to bring footballs or Frisbees to play with,” Windsor said.
Despite all of the many structural changes to this year’s Extravaganza, ASPB is expecting a record turnout and happy students. “We think this is going to be the biggest year in a long time. Talib Kweli was really awesome last year, but Busta is huge and Damian Marley is just perfect for a festival atmosphere, and there’s going to be food and vendors,” said Windsor. So, bring your blanket, sunscreen and Frisbee and enjoy what is sure to be an Extravaganza to remember.
Extravaganza will be held Sunday, May 15 at Harder Stadium. Admission is free. Doors open at 1 p.m. No bottles, cans, knives, weapons, backpacks or large bags, alcohol, stage diving, crowd surfing, wallet chains, cameras, recording devices, skateboards or animals. More information can be found at www.aspb.as.ucsb.edu.
2 p.m. Hairbrain Scheme
2:30 p.m. the Walkmen
3:15 p.m. RJD2
4 p.m. Damian Marley
5 p.m. Busta Rhymes