By Caitlin Antonios
For those with the foresight to skip UCI’s 2017 Summerlands festival, here’s what you missed: one of the main headliners cancelling, terrible sound engineering, and so much trash at the end of the night it looked more like the morning after a frat party than a summer concert.
According to the ASUCI Summerlands website, “the goal of Summerlands has always been to provide a quality outdoors music festival that caters to all of the UCI students in order to create a space for diversity and school pride.” Aside from the poor grammar, they must have forgotten the “quality” on the drawing board. The music began promptly at 4 p.m., despite that also being the time when attendees were allowed into the closed-off circle in Aldrich Park. The first performers, The Millennial Club — this year’s winner of the Best Band award at UCI’s Soulstice talent competition — finished their set with, at most, 80 students actually inside the enclosure due to security checks. Those security checks, by the way, were a joke of a search. It’s no wonder a few students were either passed out or throwing up throughout the show.
Of those 80 students who were conscious and made it in, about 20 sat in front of the stage while the rest just chilled out on the hill adjacent to it. The Millennial Club probably would’ve had a more enthused crowd if they had performed at a retirement home. It didn’t fare much better for the other acts. Next up was Common Souls, an electronic and R&B duo from UCLA (they made sure to mention that) who were more concerned with selling their poorly-designed hats and testing out a mid-song comedy routine about relationship issues than providing a show for students.
It’s hard to even remember who played and in what order, considering no acts were ever announced with the exception of UCI student, DJ Fook. When ASUCI did come on to announce Fook and make a pitch for joining ASUCI, it went down about as well as the hat-selling did. While Fook was able to rouse a bit more enthusiasm (at least more people had gotten in by then), his set was plagued by poor sound engineering which turned what should have been a fun, “lit” DJ set into a lackluster performance. This was no fault of Fook but instead, the engineers who simply needed to turn a few knobs to up the volume.
Next, (I’m assuming) should have been Goldlink who cancelled supposedly last minute. Bizarrely, Goldlink was taken off the Facebook page list of performers days before the show, yet there was no formal announcement made by ASUCI. Magically, Goldlink’s name reappeared online and was still included in the email sent the day before the show. It wasn’t until students went to get their wristbands that a sign appeared saying Goldlink had pulled out. The poor organization and slightly questionable order of events is only another reason why Summerlands just missed the mark.
This year’s Summerlands did draw its largest crowd in years, which seemed to be about 700, mostly because of the main headliner, electronic DJ Illenium, who kindly extended his set and played for about two hours. By this time, almost all of the students had made it in and a mosh pit formed. People got hyped for about two seconds at a time before it lulled back into just standing around. It had all the makings of a great mosh pit however: girls on guys’ shoulders, beach balls, and that sweaty guy in the front that seemingly came there by himself on all sorts of drugs. But it was still light out, tons of people were still just sitting on the hill, and the set dragged into boredom.
When it finally finished, the park was littered with trash and people were in the mood to actually start their Friday night. The organizers can’t be blamed for the trash, which was beyond disrespectful of students to leave — but perhaps placing more than just four trash cans around the area would have made students more inclined to throw away their Rockstar cans and nacho-filled plates.
Perhaps most appalling was ASUCI’s response to complaints, which implied that students should be grateful simply because it’s a free concert. Well, considering students recently passed a referendum vastly increasing ASUCI’s budget, it’s unsurprising that students start asking for a bit more. The website states: “From vendors to raffles, there is no end to the amount of entertainment at Summerlands!” But I fail to see where the entertainment started.