UC Santa Barbara students associate Delirium, the annual Halloween concert put on by Associated Students Program Board, with Halloween weekend so often that it can be easy to forget that the concert was only started five years ago.
In the aftermath of the 2013-2014 academic year, which Dean of Student Life Katya Armistead described as “turbulent and difficult,” Armistead said she knew that the culture around Halloween needed to change — so she called on student leaders to come together and brainstorm.
Out of these discussions came the idea for a big Halloween concert, which Armistead said was completely student-run. Beyond providing security, portable toilets and parking, the university has no role in putting together the event; instead, members of the Associated Students Program Board (ASPB) spend months gathering booking data about artists, reaching out to their agents and narrowing down the list of potential performers.
Nathaly Pacheco, special events coordinator for ASPB, fields requests from students and other board members about the genres of music or artists they want to see perform at the annual event.
“We want to make sure we cater to what you guys want,” Pacheco said, emphasizing that events are funded by student fees.
“With board as a whole, no matter what we do, we have to think students are our number one priority.”
For the past week, Pacheco and the rest of the ASPB staff have been working to ensure the show runs smoothly. On Saturday, Pacheco and the production coordinator will be starting their day at 7 a.m. to oversee the set up of all the production equipment, like the audio, lighting and any special equipment Program Board ordered at the artist’s request. They won’t go home until 2 a.m., when they wrap up clean-up for the show.
Pacheco, who is going into her third year on Program Board, said her experience on the board in previous years has helped her work with other members more cohesively.
“I truly feel like you can’t be a good leader unless you know what the other people that are working for you are doing,” she said.
For this year’s show, and her time on Program Board as a whole, Pacheco said it was important to her to bring a diverse lineup to campus; she pointed out that UCSB has never had a female headliner perform at any of their shows.
“That’s a big problem, even within the industry; it’s like such an issue of seeing powerful women or seeing women being represented in this specific industry,” she said.
Pacheco said Program Board was actually in touch with Megan Thee Stallion to bring her for Delirium but said the timing didn’t work out.
With Leikeli47, one of the supporting acts at this year’s Delirium, Pacheco said the board tries its best to “bring and showcase diversity when it comes to the artists that we bring to the campus and stay on the wave of artists that we think are only going to keep growing and growing.”
“I really, really want to make sure that we do that this year,” she said. “I know that we have a really big Latinx community here at this school — it’s the second biggest demographic — but we don’t cater to Spanish music or other different genres of music.”
Kiyomi Morrison, program board commissioner, emphasized Pacheco’s sentiments about wanting to invite more student input to Program Board’s internal processes.
“I’d like [students] to meet the Program Board people, and then also make our office hours available so they can come in at any time, talk to anyone, not only for talking about the programs that we do, but if they need help doing events or if they are interested in working or volunteering with us,” she added.
Additionally, Morrison pointed to the Associated Students’ Finance and Business Committee’s public posts last year that documented where student fees were going and said that was something she was interested in implementing, particularly because Program Board has a high lock-in fee, she added.
Program Board is working with a budget of $1,110,106.25 for the 2019-2020 academic year, according to a budget presented by last year’s commissioner, Ryanne Ross, at the end of last year. While a lot of the budget goes toward the larger special events, Program Board also puts on regular Free Tuesday Films, Storke Tower shows, shows in the Hub, lectures and other events throughout the year.
All the money that Program Board makes from charging for smaller events goes toward subsidizing costs for larger events, Morrison added.
When it comes to events like Delirium, Morrison and Pacheco said the safety of students is of the utmost priority to them.
“We throw a lot of big festivals where a lot of people are drunk and that kind of stuff, and also, police are required to be there,” Morrison said. “We’re on the student side … we are here for you guys and we want to make sure you are safe, first and foremost.”
Pacheco said police presence at this year’s show is expected to be the same as previous years, and that students can expect metal detectors and pat-downs outside of the Thunderdome.
“I know that Halloween here is pretty dead, and it’s just like, people go home, people decide to go to other places,” Pacheco said. “This is one of the things that people can do in a fun and safe way.”