Eager constituents carpeted Anisq’ Oyo’ Park on Saturday, as a number of local bands, fans and one Jesus impersonator gathered for the Voting Rocks! concert.
The event, which attracted 300 people, was part of UCSB’s nonpartisan voter registration drive, an effort to prepare students for the election on Nov. 7. Christy Escobar, a second-year theater and global studies major who helped organize the event, said the drive registers students and helps educate them on the issues.
“The purpose of the concert is to register those students who haven’t yet,” Escobar said. “We want to inform them about measures and have fun while doing it.”
The concert featured a number of bands, including Rebelution, Daulphan and Waking Moment. Speakers also took the stage to discuss various ballot initiatives such as Measure D, which would increase Santa Barbara’s sales tax to fund road improvement projects as well as public transportation.
The first performance of the day came from DJ Crabhat, who wore a crab-shaped hat, red and white striped pants and a patriotic blue coat. The second act, the Sacapuntas Locos, drew a larger crowd to the park with their original songs and a Spanish rendition of “What is Love?” the “Night at the Roxbury” theme song.
Zach Perkins, manager of the Sacapuntas Locos, described the band’s style as a “Spanish, Christian rock parody,” and said they staged a dramatic show to attract attention.
“We were going to have Jesus and the Virgin Mary dancing on stage and they were going to make out at the end of the set,” Perkins said. “We just couldn’t get the Virgin Mary costume in time.”
Tyler Walker, a fourth-year psychology major, dressed up as the lonely Jesus Christ and handed out necklaces in the shape of a cross sporting the name of the band.
“I’m here to promote the vote through the magic of the music,” Walker said to the crowd.
Emily Shannon, a UCSB alumna who attended the festival, said she thought the impersonation of Jesus as well as the cross necklaces bordered on offensive.
“You see all the crosses and it’s very strong imagery,” Shannon said. “I really liked what they did, it was very creative, but the Jesus thing was a bit much.”
Besides the music, there was a voter registration desk manned by Jenna Galoob, a fourth-year sociology major. Galoob said the day started out slow, but she expected more people to attend the festival when Rebelution took the stage.
“It’s going well, slow now, but there should be more when Rebelution comes,” Galoob said near the beginning of the concert. “I don’t think most people know they have to re-register every time they move.”
Escobar said the concert was a success, both in registration numbers and voter education.
“Only fifty people registered, but many of the students already were,” Escobar said. “I would definitely call it a success, though; people had a good time and I think they learned a lot.”