By HALEY DICK
Gull Life Editor
The Student Organization for Activity Planning (SOAP) announced earlier this month that Kid Ink, Travis Porter and White Panda will be the performers for this year’s annual Gullfest, but the question remains: will this be the year the turnout finally matches the hopes of the planning committee?
Unlike last year’s location in the field across from Sea Gull Stadium, Gullfest will return to its previous indoor location in Maggs Gym. Like most issues surrounding Gullfest, the location of the concert garners mixed reactions from students.
“I’d prefer it to be in Maggs,” sophomore Andrew Hamill said. “It would create a more compact and better environment compared to last year.”
Last year’s planning committee aimed to make the event similar to a festival in that various other attractions were present in addition to the concert. Outdoor games, body painting and vendors were spread across the field to entertain students in between acts.
“I still wanted to do that ‘more than a concert’ thing, but I also thought people don’t really come as a concert,” SOAP Concert Chair Shelby Tittle said. “I feel like having all that last year didn’t really help with the attendance, so I kind of am leaning a little bit away from it, even though we are having other stuff during the weekend of Gullfest, which I think that kind of is making it more like a fest.”
The biggest obstacle surrounding Gullfest is always securing a lineup of artists that a large population of students are familiar with. The next problem comes in hyping up the students enough to actually attend the event.
“It’s just hard to get people to come out for things in general, not even necessarily Gullfest,” Tittle said. “We’ve only sold 100 tickets for this one, which is ridiculous.”
Sophomore Amar Naboulsi suggested SOAP advertise the event more and possibly offer free food as an incentive for students to attend, but ultimately concluded that providing a better lineup would solve most of the attendance problem.
“Honestly, I didn’t know the line up until I looked it up today and I don’t know who the performers are,” Naboulsi said.
Tittle confirmed the start of a new guest program in which SU students can purchase a guest ticket for $20 for an individual who is currently a student at another university. This is the first time non-SU members will be allowed to attend the event, and there are 500 tickets designated as guest tickets.
“This year I didn’t really specify what I wanted for the guest ticket,” Tittle said. “I just wanted to have other people come that aren’t SU students.”
Tittle said it could be a possibility for the general public to eventually be included in the event, but this guest program is a step in the right direction.
“I think it would be more beneficial to Gullfest as a whole to get a more diverse group of people that come, but even with the guest ticket, that’s why they are controlling it so much,” Tittle said. “They are just worried that something is going to happen with opening up to people that aren’t SU students, which I don’t really understand because, I mean, SU students can do bad things too.”
Tittle’s goal for this Gullfest is to sell out, but she isn’t sure that is a realistic goal. The venue has a maximum capacity of 1,900 people, 100 of which are volunteers, leaving 1,800 tickets available for purchase.
Despite circulating rumors, Tittle confirmed there are no indications that Gullfest is on its way out.
“We are still going to do it next year, and as far as I know for the years after that, but depending on how this Gullfest goes that might be a turning point, but we still just have to see.”
Featured image of Ripe from Gullfest 2017 by Franny Clark.