Extravaganza 2024: Comradery and Cameos (and Steve Aoki)


News Editor

Houston Sasselli

On May 19, the 44th annual Extravaganza event took place at UC Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) Harder Stadium. It was headlined by renowned DJ and UCSB alum Steve Aoki. His return to his alma mater brought an extra layer of excitement to the festival, which also featured performances by BLXST, Disco Lines, Briston Maroney, and Willie O’Donnell.

Steve Aoki’s connection to UCSB runs deep, having begun his career hosting underground shows at the Biko House, one of the houses that makes up the Santa Barbara Student Housing Cooperative. Aoki’s performance was the highlight of the festival, with students buzzing about his return weeks before the event. The Bottom Line (TBL) spoke with a few of this year’s festival attendees. Second-year economics major Aaryan Gundecha shared her excitement: “Our friends couldn’t stop talking about it. Extravaganza has always been such a worthy event, but Steve Aoki returning makes it feel special.”

Themed “It’ll Be Sweet,” the festival was more than just a concert. The Associated Students Program Board (ASPB) orchestrated an engaging reveal of the lineup with fortune cookies hinting at the performers and themed drinks like Steve Aoki’s Cake Latte. The grand reveal included the “caking” of three AS Program Board members, a playful nod to Aoki’s signature concert stunt of throwing a cake at a lucky audience member.

Bahia Washington, another student attendee, praised the event’s energy. She said, “Compared to last year, the artists got the crowd so much more hyped, which was my favorite part.” She added that although she didn’t try the food or other activities, she noticed long lines, indicating their popularity, and felt the overall atmosphere was fantastic.

Rapper BLXST, known for his collaborations with artists like Kendrick Lamar and Ty Dolla $ign, brought a blend of hip-hop and R&B that resonated with the crowd. Disco Lines, a rising DJ, was another hit, having been booked due to significant demand from UCSB students. In a surprise addition, ASPB also announced indie rock singer Briston Maroney, known for his track “Freakin’ Out on the Interstate” and his appearance on American Idol. This diverse lineup broadened the festival’s appeal, ensuring there was something for everyone.

Aoki’s influence extended beyond the festival grounds. Andrew Saint John, director of student-directed short film “Noise,” recounted a memorable encounter with Aoki at the Biko House during filming. “It was pretty surprising, people who were at the show had started coming back to the house talking about how he had shouted the house out during his set. About a half hour later, we were going for a take in the garage and we heard yelling from outside, and then someone just screamed ‘Steve Aoki!!’ very clearly that we could hear it,” he told TBL.

Saint John described how Aoki’s impromptu visit energized the cast and crew, highlighting his lasting impact on the UCSB community. “It was a big scene for us with extras, and when you’re not paying extras I always feel bad for keeping them there for long, but after Steve Aoki came, the morale was very high. I think they all felt like they got their money’s worth. We stopped shooting for 45 minutes when he came in and still finished on time, which I think is in part to everyone being in such a good mood after.”

As the dust settles on this year’s Extravaganza, it is clear that the festival was an unforgettable event. With a lineup that catered to a wide range of musical tastes and the added excitement of Aoki’s homecoming, UCSB students enjoyed a day of high-energy performances and sweet memories.

Extravaganza 2024 delivered on its promise of impressive production, food, and activities, remaining a cornerstone of the UCSB spring quarter and offering students a vibrant celebration to mark the end of the academic year.


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