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ASUCI’s Virtual Aldrich Park After Dark

ASUCI hosted a virtual Aldrich Park After Dark (APAD), their annual welcome week concert, which featured artists San Holo, Amber Mark and Smino on Sept. 29. The event was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 safety procedures.

ASUCI Student Services Vice President Cathlyn Diller was responsible for planning the event and gathered the Concerts and Content Creation commissions to help out.

“[For] this specific concert, my team and I had been planning since the beginning of summer. There was a lot more research that went into this APAD because of the obvious difference in circumstances than previous years. Basically, we had to create a concert from scratch without any prior precedent or knowledge on how a virtual concert would work,” Diller said. 

The planning of a virtual APAD involved specific details and challenges this year.

“Due to the virtual aspect of the concert, my Contents Creation commission also had a large part in curating such a successful APAD. My Concerts commission helped with creating varying setlists [and] my Content Creation team worked to create all the graphics, marketing materials and transition videos for APAD,” Diller said. 

The concert was streamed through YouTube and lasted for about three hours. Before accessing the link, students were required to sign a waiver. Diller stated that acquiring this year’s featured artists, which were San Holo, Amber Mark and Smino, was in line with the usual process. 

“Acquiring the artists was a generic process in which I reached out to various agencies and had them send me a list of artists that are, one, available to perform for a concert at a university and, two, willing to do a virtual concert. Once the artists accepted the offer, the procurement process took weeks to finalize contracts. After the contracts were signed and finalized, we were able to release the artists and any marketing materials we had in accordance,” Diller said. 

The concert also allowed these featured artists to connect with the audience more and provide more of an intimate musical setting. 

“We were able to have a more personalized set from the artists and were able to include UCI exclusive Q&A interviews. San Holo also created a UCI exclusive remix that he performed for us. He remixed ‘m.A.A.d City’ by Kendrick Lamar and added a ‘Zot’ instead of ‘Yawk,’” Diller said. 

Around 5,000 people signed in to watch. However, the audience count does not take into account apartments and university houses that shared one screen while the artists performed. 

“5,000 is what I deem a success, as our typical in-person concerts get anywhere from 4,000 to 7,000 students in attendance,” Diller said. 

To encourage audience interaction, attendees were given the opportunity to receive shoutouts from the artists during the concert. 

“Students were getting shoutouts on screen during the artists performances, as we had social media ‘contests’ for people to comment on. Basically, if someone commented on a certain post, they had a chance to win an onscreen shoutout,” Diller said. 

“Virtually, I think the concert was a success! The process with how everything is handled has changed everywhere, so for a long while, a lot of people didn’t know how to navigate being virtual, including artists. It’s nice to know that things are starting to get a bit easier or routine, despite the continuous circumstances.”

Ashley Shah is a Campus News Intern for Fall 2020. She can be reached at akshah2@uci.edu