Hundreds of local revelers and self-proclaimed tree-huggers turned out in full force Saturday to celebrate Isla Vista’s fourth Chilla Vista festival.
Hosted by the Isla Vista Community Relations Committee, the open-air festival was created to celebrate the I.V. community and its dedication to environmental causes. Attendees were treated to live music from a myriad of local bands and were encouraged to partake in a variety of activities ranging from dancing to bubble blowing.
Organizer Liz Buda said that since its 2005 inception, the biannual event has become a favorite of I.V. residents.
“It’s a celebration of all things Isla Vista,” Buda said. “I.V. gets a bad rap sometimes, but it’s really a positive place. We’re one of the few events that the university and long-term residents fully love.”
Due to its popularity, the event has expanded to stretch across I.V.’s two central parks, Anisq’ Oyo’ and People’s Park. Attendees sprawled out on Anisq’ Oyo’s grassy amphitheatre watched a lineup of 10 bands and could purchase refreshments from vendors like the Isla Vista Co-op and the Farmer’s Market. Co-op manager Melissa Cohen said the event facilitated the store’s outreach goals.
“We like doing interactive demonstrations, and it’s a good place for [them],” Cohen said. “We’ve been out here for every [Chilla Vista],” she added.
The festival – which promotes sustainability – was powered by solar panels and included volunteers handing out Chilla Vista T-shirts to those who brought 10 or more items for recycling. Cohen said that the event’s sustainable quality makes it unique.
“I like how it perpetuates itself,” Cohen said. “I think it’s the best festival to come out [of Isla Vista], and I’ve lived here for eight years.”
Danny Joelles, a second-year sociology major, said he spent his time at the festival dancing, eating and sleeping. He said that although he felt the event had a somewhat smaller turnout than last year, the dancing and bands made for a good time.
“I thought it was an amazing community gathering with lots of positive energy and good vibes – everyone was smiling, and it was good,” Joelles said.
Joelles said that for him, the highlight of the afternoon was the performance of the event’s final band, the Devil Makes Three.
“They were really awesome – just, like, a very cool band,” he said.
Third District Supervisor candidates Doreen Farr and Dr. David Bearman also set up booths at the event, campaigning to young constituents and encouraging them to vote in Tuesday’s election. Bearman said his attendance was crucial to student outreach.
“I think it’s important for Isla Vista residents to be aware of someone who has committed 38 years to I.V.,” Bearman said. “I’m the only candidate who supports an urban government for I.V.”
Doreen Farr also hoped to bolster her campaign during the event. One of Farr’s campaign field organizers, Gina Fischer, said their goal was to dispel any false claims made about Farr, and to educate the community on her position.
“Doreen cares deeply about I.V. [and] issues about the master plan,” Fischer said. “There’s a lot of information out there, and this helps set the record straight.”
Farr said the event was nothing new to her, and that she thoroughly enjoyed speaking with voters.
“I’ve been here a number of times,” Farr said. “It’s a great coming together of the Isla Vista community.”
Politics aside, Chilla Vista has proven to sustain interest from Isla Vista’s diverse community. Buda said she encourages more individuals to join the group effort, and hopes to see the event progress into a more regular occurrence.
“The biggest festival is in June, but we do the first one, [which takes place Fall Quarter] to get people interested, especially first years,” Buda said. “Our ultimate goal is to do a weekly event.”
-Kristin Ferrell contributed to this article.