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Newly Revamped Sun God Music Festival Attracts Record Crowd

Christine Clark | May 19, 2008

Sun God Attendees (Photo / Victor W. Chen)
An estimate of 18,000 people attended Sun God 2008.

Students swarmed RIMAC field Friday as the Sun God music festival marked the highest attendance ever in its 26-year history.

This year, the festival offered a new format. For the first time, Sun God was centrally located on RIMAC field and it featured three distinct stages, a street fair, art show and carnival. In addition, a new ticketing system allowed students to enter and exit the grounds for the majority of the festival.

The soaring temperatures didn't deter students from attending the day-time portion of sold-out event. "We had the biggest turn-out of any Sun God Festival to date," Garrett Berg, Festivals Coordinator said. "We estimate 18,000 people attended and many students and guests stayed for nearly the full 12 hours."

The Associated Students organized and funded the event, but UC San Diego staff, such as Center for Student Involvement Director Emily Marx, helped students beat the heat by passing out free water near the festival’s entrance.

Sun God Volunteers (Photo / Victor W. Chen)
Sun God volunteers handed out free water.

Live music blared from the Main and North stages throughout the day and into the night. More than 40 entertainment acts from various music genres performed at the event. The festival’s head-liners, Coheed and Cambria, Sean Kingston and Say Anything, took the Main Stage in the evening, while local musicians, such as Lady Dottie and the Diamonds, Bill Magee Blues Band and the Muslims, played on the North Stage from noon to 8 p.m.

Students saw comedic acts and artistic performances from the Tritones, UCSD Dance Team and Cirque Berzerk on the Midway Stage while others revisited their youth at the Triton Carnival which featured an inflated slide and giant trampoline.

The event’s sponsors wanted to create a more eclectic festival to cater to the needs of UC San Diego’s diverse student population, according to A.S. Associate Vice President of Programming Kevin Highland. Highland added that the centrality of revamped Sun God helped create a more unified atmosphere.

Joust (Photo / Victor W. Chen)
Joust was one of the carnival's attractions.

Although Sun God is free to all undergraduates, graduate students such as James Gray volunteered to gain free admission. This was the third Sun God for Gray and he said the changes gave the festival a fresh appeal. "I think it is nice you can re-enter during the day," Gray said. "I think some students aren’t use to the changes, but it’s good this Sun God is more centralized."

Freshmen Kavan Sabnani said although he never attended Sun God before, this was one of the most highly anticipated events of the school year for him. "My friends from the bay area drove all the way down here to come to this," he said.

Students shopped, ate and danced at the street fair on Sun God avenue. The fair featured Indian, Greek and Mexican food and jewelry and clothing items. DJs from KSDT, the UCSD Guardian and DJs and Vinylphiles spun various forms of music at the fair.

Freshman Allie Cuerdo said she didn’t know what to expect for her first Sun God, but planned to have fun during the celebration. "I don’t know many of the bands performing," she said. "But my friends and I just decided to come and hang out and socialize all day and we’re having fun."

Junior Adam Skylar said attending Sun God has been a tradition for him, but was excited for this particular event because it featured one of his favorite electronica artists, Richard Vission. "I think the organizers did a pretty good job and I definitely think this event is needed."

Sean Kingston (Photo / Victor W. Chen) Say Anything (Photo / Victor W. Chen) Coheed and Cambria (Photo / Victor W. Chen)
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