Big Show Returns to University Library Lawn
The late afternoon sun lingered in the sky as I finally arrived at my destination. After a 15 mile drive, my legs were in dire need of a stretch. Upon parking the car and getting out, I was afraid I had arrived too early in the day, but the pulsating drone of EDM beats let me know I was right on time. Following the sounds of the rhythmic pulses, I finally arrived at the first of many checkpoints that I would encounter as I attempted to gain entry into the party that lay just beyond a series of metal detectors and wired fencing. “No bags allowed,” boomed the modestly beefy security guard. I sheepishly flash my press pass and a smile, I explain to the guard that I’m here on assignment and after hopping on his radio for clarification on how to proceed, I’m told to head over to a different point of entry.
Without missing a beat, I trudge my way over to the instructed point of entry and repeat the exact same spiel I told Guard #1. “Oh, no, press needs to check-in by the main entry with everybody else, this gate is for artists only.” Obviously flustered, I bumble my way through an explanation that I just came from the main gate and what I was told, “yeah, I don’t know what they told you, but this is for artists only, sorry.”
After some back and forth and another halfhearted bag check, I wondered to myself how effective these security measures truly were especially seeing as how the faint aroma of marijuana lingered in the air. Finally gaining entry into the event, taking a look around I notice the multiple ROCKSTAR energy drink representatives dotted across the main entry in their snazzy gold jackets handing out free 24 oz. cans of their signature beverage. “So this is how they get the party started,” I thought to myself as I set out for several more laps around the festival grounds.
This was my first time at CSUN’s Big Show; coincidentally it was also the return of Big Show after being canceled in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shift to an online format. Dubbed an at-home rave, the free online concert featured EDM DJ’s A-Track and Diplo and achieved modest success attracting around 1,500 students according to Associated Students’ records from that time. “Personally, I thought the idea was a bit silly,” says CSUN grad Frances Magdalena. “Sure, it’s free and all, but the idea of partying at home over Zoom seemed ridiculous, it just didn’t seem like my kind of thing even if it was my last semester.”
Since its beginning in 2000, CSUN’s Big Show has sought to provide students with a place to gather and let loose. The festival-like atmosphere is largely the main attraction of the event; attempts at bringing the party home via pre-recorded DJ sets seemed ludicrous, and I would imagine there was a certain level of disconnect as was the case with so many other aspects of life during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s festivities, however, featured EDM sets from student DJ Christian Mojica, otherwise known under his stage name MAC, kicked-off the event and got the crowd warmed-up. EDM duo of Andrew Cantu and Daniel Hurtado, also known under the moniker of Can2 and LOST VI$UAL followed up with their sets and keep the party going. As guests continued to pour into the University Library Lawn, the concertgoers danced and swayed to the beat anticipating the evening's headliner, up-and-coming Los Angeles-based rapper, BLXST (pronounced blast), who is fresh off his 2021 XXL Freshman Class Award. When asked how it felt to finally be attending an in-person event on campus, CSUN journalism student Damaris G. said, “It feels good. Honestly, I’m just glad I’m able to be doing campus actives before I graduate next fall.”
As the afternoon went on, those in attendance packed in towards the main stage eagerly awaiting the final act of the night. Finally, upon taking the stage, the crowd went ballistic for BLXST. Performing all of his hits, as well as deeper cuts, he kept the party going for his fans both new and old.
“Y’all ready to go home already?” shouted BLXST as he brought his set to a close. “I just wanted to give y’all, y’all flowers, I know it takes a lot, being in school, staying dedicated, so make y’all some noise for that. I know it sounds cliché but y’all really are the future in a real way, you feel me? I need y’all to remain focused, remain dedicated, and most importantly remain forever humble.”