At UCSB's Harder Stadium, Sunday, May 17.

UCSB's Associated Students brought big-name rapper Nas to Harder Stadium last Sunday as part of their annual day-long free concert.
Paul Wellman

Extravaganza is defined as “an elaborate and spectacular entertainment or production.”

Scheduling Extravaganza 2008 on the same day, and at the same time, as KJEE’s Summer Roundup didn’t seem to hurt their turn out, but then again a free show fits quite nicely into every college and local high school student’s limited budget. With a pop lineup featuring famed hip-hop artist Nas and a variety of other performances, it’s no surprise hundreds of kids flocked to Harder Stadium with blankets and high-test SPF this past sunny Sunday afternoon.

Variety would be the key word in describing this eclectic show-although things weighed heavily on the side of hip-hop thanks to Nas and The Blue Scholars (currently on tour with underground sensation Hieroglyphics). UCSB’s Associated Student Program Board also booked the winner of its 2008 Battle of the Bands contest, Out of State; a “screamo” group called Saosin; and pop artists Hellogoodbye. Lyrics for the day were as diverse as the lineup and covered everything from society and unrequited love to high school heartbreak and politics.

The show, put on entirely by the ASPB, took almost the entire academic year to plan, and a big part of that was brainstorming the playbill. “We like to pick bands we think represent the college, the community,” explained Ana Pineda, the publicity coordinator for ASPB. Enough kids waited in line, gathered at the front of the stages (yes, there were two of them), and sang along enough to convince any bystander that the ASPB’s careful considerations were appreciated.

But bringing a large collection of genres and their followings together isn’t entirely uncommon, something Cave Reber, lead singer of the head-banging band Saosin, also noticed. When discussing the diverse audience that Extravaganza had attracted to Harder Stadium, he recalled a similar experience. “We played USC a while back with Del the Funkee Homosapien and De La Soul, and to play with Nas? Today? It’s just cool because you don’t get to play for those kids at all.”


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