Tuesday, February 25

USAC to scale back JazzReggae Festival in wake of deficits

The undergraduate student government will significantly downsize the JazzReggae Festival this spring to account for previous festivals’ financial deficits.

The JRF is a festival-style event that features musical performances, food and artwork associated with the jazz and reggae culture. The Undergraduate Students Association Council’s Cultural Affairs Commission has organized JRF for the past 30 years.

This year, JRF will be a daylong event that primarily features student performers as opposed to paid performers, said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Amy Shao at last week’s council meeting.

Historically, JRF ran for two days on the UCLA Intramural Field and showcased performances by guest artists, such as Lupe Fiasco and Snoop Dogg, drawing crowds of up to 12,000 L.A. community members each day.

This year, JRF will be held in the North Athletic Field, which has a capacity of 2,000 people, Shao said.

Roy Champawat, director of the student union, said this year’s festival will be held at a smaller venue due to declining crowds, increasing production costs and last year’s venue change.

Champawat added that the music industry has changed and there are more music festivals such as Coachella which draw students away from attending JRF.

Last year, JRF was $152,000 over its intended budget, said USAC President Heather Rosen at last week’s council meeting. Two years ago, the festival was $113,000 over budget.

JRF managers plan to spend only $85,000 and any money they receive from sponsors to keep this year’s JRF from exceeding its budget, Shao said. Shao added her office also created a reserve of $9,000 to buffer against future financial deficits.

Any profits from ticket sales and leftover funds will be added to the reserve for future festivals, Champawat said. He added event organizers plan to decrease the event size, return it to its smaller beginnings and hopefully grow it from there.

Amanda Olivas, a fourth-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student, said she thinks JRF’s managers should consider bringing more well-known guest artists to draw students to the festival.

First-year biology student Shawn Barman said he thinks decreasing the JRF budget was the right move given its history of exceeding budgets, but having less guest artists come may decrease the number of students who attend JRF.

JRF began in 1986 as a one-day event in the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center that allowed student musicians to perform for the public. It has since grown to become one of the largest student-run festivals in the nation, Champawat said.

This year will mark JRF’s 30th annual festival. The event will be held on Memorial Day, May 30, at the North Athletic Field.

Senior staff columnist

Tadimeti was the Daily Bruin's Opinion editor from 2017-2019 and an assistant Opinion editor in the 2016-2017 school year. He tends to write about issues pertaining to the higher education, state politics and the administration, and blogs occasionally about computer science. Tadimeti was also the executive producer of the "No Offense, But" and "In the Know" Daily Bruin Opinion podcasts.

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  • Tat

    Last year JRF did not allow attendees to reenter the day long festival, which was also held in the pouring rain. It’s hard to enjoy the event when your buzz wore off hours ago and your jacket was left at home.

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