Members of Lucidity LLC fielded questions from community members at a town hall meeting on Tuesday night at the St. George Youth Center, questioning the festival’s plans to host an alternative Deltopia festival in order to draw people away from Del Playa Drive.
The initial proposal of a festival led many UC Santa Barbara students and community members to believe that Lucidity’s event would completely shut down Deltopia, as expressed at the town hall. However, members of Lucidity’s board of directors negated these rumors and expressed its hopes that the alternative festival would develop a more positive, fun-filled environment that would help channel the Deltopia crowds into a safer space.
“We are not invested in doing this if people don’t want it,” Lucidity Director Ron Glover said. “We were asked to come and we decided we’d give it a shot… we don’t have a magic wand, but we’ve been successful at what we do.”
Lucidity has faced pushback from both sides of the community around its involvement in the event. Some UCSB students have expressed concern over parting with their beloved Deltopia tradition, while other Isla Vista residents present at the town hall noted they would prefer to abolish the event entirely.
“There was [an] overwhelming response that students don’t want to see it rebranded,” Lucidity Founder and Marketing Director Jonah Gabriel Haas said. “It comes from an idea that this is going to change or take away their beloved Deltopia party, and that’s not what we’re trying to do.”
Lucidity recently reduced its proposed Deltopia festival budget by $20,000, leaving it with a $159,850 price tag in order to get the program underway, which places special emphasis on harm reduction and collaboration with the community. This includes the unique concept of “Guardians,” a specially trained group of people dedicated to de-escalating situations to reduce the need for law enforcement.
“The Guardian team would serve as a buffer between students and law enforcement so that the vast majority of things, whether they be medical or conflicts, can be de-escalated, mediated and taken care of before escalating to law enforcement,” Haas said.
During the town hall, many concerned community members placed an emphasis on their fear of outsiders coming into I.V. and wreaking havoc with no sense of personal responsibility.
Haas noted that Lucidity’s goal is “to make the event awesome enough for crowds to come off Del Playa, but not so awesome that we attract huge out-of-town crowds.”
The team hopes to accomplish this by enlisting local artists to play at two different stages in Anisq’Oyo’ Park and People’s Park, which will hopefully encourage students to enjoy the music without drawing in outsiders.
Lucidity also explained its hopes for a more family-friendly event in the future. However, the team acknowledged that since this is the first iteration of the event, they wanted to prioritize the age range that the original Deltopia appealed to.
Kiyomi Morrison, UCSB’s A.S. Program Board commissioner, expressed her fears that Lucidity’s event would take away from the Program Board’s Warm Up event, which aims to act as a safe space that provides live music, drinks, snacks and other necessities to potentially inebriated students after Deltopia. She explained that after Deltopia and a Lucidity Festival, students might be too tired to attend the school-sanctioned nighttime event.
She also raised concern regarding the price tag, which the I.V. Community Services District explained would be covered by the district and other organizations who could potentially support the event.
“I agree that I think trying stuff is important and you won’t know… but it’s a $159,000 try,” Morrison said. “Can you justify spending that much on this event, rather than medical tents, drug testing, water or food that could help Deltopia in another way?”
Ultimately, Lucidity returned to the point made at the beginning of the meeting.
“If this works, it works, and we couldn’t ask for anything better,” Glover said. “If it doesn’t, we won’t do it again… instead of not trying, and saying what if it doesn’t work, well, what if it does?”