Shiuan Cheng / Daily Nexus

On April 21, the Associated Students Environmental Affairs Board hosted their annual Isla Vista Earth Day Festival at Anisq’Oyo Park featuring free yerba mates, tabling organizations, seaweed painting and live music. 

Vibrant chalk drawings welcomed attendees as they entered the festival, and community members added hand-drawn doodles of flowers, animals and other messages promoting love for the Earth. This year’s theme, “Biodiversity Bonanza,” highlighted the local biodiversity in the Santa Barbara and Isla Vista area. With free granola from female-owned small business Ocean Ranch, succulent giveaways and live performances from local bands — Ex-Girlfriends Anonymous, The Cliffs, Sweet Appeal and Soul Tide — the event offered plenty of opportunities to bask in the beauty of Mother Nature. 

Environmental Affairs Board (EAB) Earth Day chair and fourth-year biology major Naia Wilcox shared that the festival took a whole school year to plan. 

“[EAB] tried to have a lot of options for sustainability like thrifting [and] a lot of different environmental focuses,” Wilcox said. 

The festival offered educational community resources in environmental conservation and justice, with organizations such as the Isla Vista Compost Collective and Mauna Kea Protectors (MKP) UCSB teaching sustainability. The Isla Vista Compost Collective focuses on composting and recycling services, while MKP UCSB advocates for the University of California (UC) to divest from the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project. The TMT is an endeavor to construct a scientific telescope on Mauna Kea and is chaired by UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang and partially funded by the UC. If built, the telescope would environmentally and culturally damage Mauna Kea — a dormant volcano on the island of Hawai’i. 

While it was a cloudy afternoon, that didn’t stop people of all ages from playing games — such as giant Jenga and cornhole — while lounging on the amphitheater grass. UCSB students were not the only ones enjoying the festival.

Attendee and third-year chemistry major Katrina Pugeda felt that the festival was a great reminder that UCSB is “obviously more than just [the students], there’s older people here too supporting the community.” 

The sense of community really showed during the festival as guests chatted, relaxed on the grass and enjoyed fun arts and crafts activities. Crowd favorites were the tie-dye T-shirt and seaweed painting stations, where guests learned how to make abstract paintings by stamping real seaweed plants onto sheets of paper with acrylic paint. 

Shiuan Cheng / Daily Nexus

Ex-Girlfriends Anonymous took the stage playing Metric’s “Black Sheep” and covers from boygenius. The Cliffs followed, playing tributes to UCSB alumnus Jack Johnson and his popular songs, “Upside Down” and “Banana Pancakes.” The groovy vibes had audience members swaying their bodies to the rhythm, while others took the liberty of taking mid-day naps on the grass. 

The self-proclaimed “academic band weapon” Sweet Appeal took the stage, with lead vocalist Makayla Reesee exclaiming her love for the Earth’s fun shapes. When asked about her favorite shape, guitarist Maya Rosenbaum replied with “I think hexagons are pretty cool!” Their set consisted of head-bopping covers from The Backseat Lovers, “Brazil” by Declan McKenna and “Sobercoaster” by Beddy Rays. 

Last to perform was the winner of the Associated Students Program Board’s recent Battle of the Bands, Soul Tide. The band played an original song titled “Surfing in the Clouds,” along with a lighthearted cover of “Ripped Pants” from popular cartoon “SpongeBob SquarePants.” This cover was met with audience members swinging their arms with the rhythm. With only five minutes left in the set, lead vocalist and fourth-year communication major Steven Bizzoco gave the audience the choice between a fast or slow-paced song. The consensus: a faster tune. The band played “Baby Fratelli” by The Fratellis, while several audience members danced and jumped together near the stage. 

After Soul Tide’s set, UCSB alumnus Dan Costello said “Soul Tide was a relaxing welcome back to I.V. for Alumni Weekend!” 

Second-year communication major Eltzery Muñoz reminisced on having seen Soul Tide for the first time at the Battle of the Bands. “They really had a lot of energy and really got the crowd riled up, so I was pretty excited to see them again at the I.V. Festival!” 

The annual I.V. Earth Day Festival served as a reminder of the beautiful sounds, colors and shapes that surround the Earth, and the importance of advocating and practicing environmentally sustainable resources.