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Thousands of students filled Harder Stadium yesterday afternoon for the 35th annual Extravaganza music festival, watching performances by some of the top names in rap, alternative rock, reggae and electronic music — including critically acclaimed rapper Kendrick Lamar.

While last year’s event brought hip-hop veteran Snoop Dogg to campus, this year’s Associated Students Program Board — the primary organizers of the event — selected 25-year-old Compton native Lamar to headline the festival. Extravaganza 2013 also included performances by Swedish house music duo Dada Life, reggae artist J Boog, Costa Mesa-based surf rock group The Growlers as well as local jazz-and-funk-infused rock band Alpha Phunk, in addition to art installations and food vendors.

While Lamar’s performance drew mixed reactions from students, many said the young hip-hop mogul made a conscious effort to interact with the crowd. Chris Harron, a third-year electrical engineering major, said Lamar connected with students and gave a polished performance.

“I liked that Kendrick was interactive with the crowd,” Haron said. “He communicated well, and he killed his transitions.”

A considerable number of students noted that this year’s performers topped last year’s, such as second-year biopsychology major Jared Gorter, who said Dada Life was the perfect opener for Lamar.

“Dada Life killed it, [they] took a lot of energy out of the crowd and got shit ready for Kendrick’s set,” Gorter said. “Compared to last year, it was a better quality lineup.”

While some said the lineup was improved from last year’s, the juxtaposition of Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar actually creates a clash between old-school and new-school hip-hop, thus making it a tough comparison, according to William Kaufman, second-year philosophy major.

“My friends were arguing over who put on a better performance — Kendrick or Snoop. One of my friends likes old-school rap and my other friend likes new-school — like Kendrick and Lil Wayne,” Kaufman said. “Personally, Kendrick exceeded my expectations, and I thought this year’s concert surpassed last year’s concert.”

With sunny weather, performances by renowned musicians and crowds of students day raging the afternoon away, the event showcased some of the best of Santa Barbara, according to J Boog.

“Everything was lovely. It was a beautiful day in Santa Barbara,” J Boog said.


A version of this article appeared on page 1 of May 20th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.