Annual Sun God Festival Celebrates Music, Art and Community on Campus
Kristin Luciani | May 16, 2011
World-famous performers, local San Diego musicians and UC San Diego’s own talented student artists shared the stage at the annual Sun God Festival Friday, drawing more than 20,000 people to RIMAC Field.
From hip-hop artists, alternative rock and electronic DJs, to comedians, cultural dances and acrobatic performances, the festival offered a diverse array of entertainment throughout the day. Headlining the festival was Wiz Kalifa, who topped the Billboard’s Hot 100 list earlier this year with his Pittsburgh anthem “Black and Yellow,” and rock band Jimmy Eat World.
The festival also showcased student talent at UC San Diego. Battle of the Bands winner Kera and the Lesbians opened the main stage with a high-energy performance. Known for their “folk gypsy garage rock” sound, the band has already performed widely throughout San Diego and was named one of 2010’s local bands to watch by San Diego CityBeat.
“Sun God is a great last hoorah,” said Phil MacNitt, bassist for Kera and the Lesbians and a graduating senior. “It’s a great way to finish off my time here, and it’s also a great launching pad for us as a local band.”
Rapper Big Sean performed on stage with headliner Wiz Kalifa.
This year’s festival boasted an increased electronic dance area, with the former dance tent transformed into a dance stage. DJ Philly, student artist and Battle of the DJs winner, closed the dance stage while other student groups performed throughout the day at the Midway tent, including a capella group Daughters of Triton (DOTS), dance troupes 220 Dance Crew and Ascension Hip Hop and the martial arts club UCSD Wushu. The Midway stage has been really popular over the last couple of years because it gives students the chance to see their friends perform at Sun God, said Oliver Zhang of AS Concerts and Events. Other noteworthy performances included Kaba Modern—one of the finalists on the hit MTV show America’s Best Dance Crew, comedy group Axis of Awesome and the acrobatic performance group Cirque Berzerk.
New to the festival, the Dlush Lounge offered a space for attendees to recharge during the day. The 3,200-square-foot-tent provided couches, cell phone charging stations, LCD screens with live feed of the performances and a bar hosted by Dlush Beverage Joint mixing up smoothies.
This year, more than 300 festival tickets were sold to UC San Diego alumni. “We’re always looking for ways to provide value to our alumni,” said Seth Klonsky, assistant director of affinity engagement for Alumni Affairs. “This is clearly a high value festival and a source of great memories for our alumni.”
Students enjoyed the evening's concerts.
UCSD Alumni also hosted Escape to Estancia for faculty and staff alumni. More than 2,500 UC San Diego alumni work for the campus—nearly 10 percent of the university’s workforce. Held from 4 – 6 p.m., alumni reconnected and relaxed at the Mustangs and Burros lounge of the Estancia Hotel and Spa. The event also highlighted UCSD Alumni’s Hour Campaign, a way for staff and faculty alumni to support student scholarships and alumni programs with small monthly donations.
“Alumni should know that as our largest and most permanent constituency, it’s up to them to ensure that UC San Diego remains world class,” said Klonsky. “The Hour Campaign is one simple way to do this.”
Now in its 29th year, the Sun God Festival is one of UC San Diego’s most popular and enduring traditions. Past festivals have included performances by Drake, N.E.R.D., Third Eye Blind, Sean Kingston, My Chemical Romance, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes and The Roots.