There have been too many dark clouds hovering over the past year during the global pandemic. To inspire a renewed sense of fun and excitement, Associated Students Concerts and Events (ASCE) has organized Sunny Days , a six-day virtual festival featuring musical performances by EDM DJ Gryffin, K-pop singer Eric Nam, R&B artists Chloe X Halle and Omar Apollo as well as comedy from Hasan Minhaj (Patriot Act) and Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation). Students can tune into the live performance series from wherever they are in the world each evening on Monday, May 10 through Saturday, May 15.
"We wanted to give students something to be excited about and bring the undergraduate community together," explained Carolina Parra Solorio, marketing director for ASCE. "We started planning in Fall 2020, and at that time we were not sure if any of this would be possible, so we focused on a virtual event. This is not meant to replace Sun God Festival; it is a reimagined event series that signals sunnier days ahead."
According to Sierra Badua, festivals director for ASCE, hosting a virtual event allowed them to book more prominent artists, some of whom will perform from across the globe. Each year, ASCE conducts an entertainment survey to learn the performers and musical genres that students are most interested in, as well as explore what is popular in the mainstream.
"We wanted to represent different musical tastes and invite a diverse lineup of performers," said Badua. "Our planning process is very inclusive. We even have a student concert curator who is currently living abroad in Singapore."
Another benefit is being able to offer students a chance to interact with the artists. Each of the events will have Q&A portions, many of them live with the artist. Students can submit their questions for artists here. In addition, students can enter on ASCE’s Instagram page for a chance to have an exclusive virtual meet-and-greet with Gryffin, Chloe X Halle, Eric Nam and Hasan Minhaj, including a brief conversation and chance to ask questions.
All students currently enrolled at UC San Diego are invited to the festival, and those who register will be entered into a drawing to receive a special care package that will contain a branded tote bag, keychain, bucket hat, stickers and postcard. In addition, members of UC San Diego’s Class of 2020 are also invited to take part. "We’d like to honor the tradition for our alumni who did not get to take part in Sun God Festival last year, which had to be cancelled when the pandemic started," explained Anthony Tran, director of the University Events Office.
Learn more about each of the Sunny Days performers:
Gryffin: Monday, May 10 at 7 p.m. (Electronic Dance Music)
With his debut single "Heading Home" featuring Josef Salvat, Gryffin introduced the world to his magnetic take on electronic music: infinitely melodic, immaculately composed and massive in emotion. In the three years since his track shot to number one on Spotify’s U.S. and global viral charts, the L.A.-based producer has pushed his artistry to a bold new level, transcending genre boundaries while drawing larger and larger crowds for his unforgettable multi-instrumental live show.
Chloe x Halle: Tuesday, May 11 at 7 p.m. (R&B, Disney’s new live action Ariel)
With their hypnotic harmonies, Chloe x Halle brought a youthful insouciance to R&B with their honeyed melodies and empowering anthems. Their breakout, Grammy-nominated debut album "The Kids Are Alright" weaves bright tales of young love, sisterhood and self-acceptance over an adventurous infusion of jazz, indie rock, trap, synth-pop and soul sounds.
Aubrey Plaza: Wednesday, May 12 at 7 p.m. (Actress, Park and Recreation)
Aubrey Plaza is best known for portraying April Ludgate on the Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award winning comedy series Parks and Recreation alongside co-stars Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt and Nick Offerman. Her performance recently garnered a nomination for an American Comedy Award for "Best Comedy Supporting Actress."
Omar Apollo: Thursday May 13 at 7 p.m. (R&B)
Omar Apollo got his first guitar at 12 years old and taught himself to play. His soulful voice and narrative ballads have been compared to musicians like Prince, Frank Ocean and D’Angelo. The intensity of his lyrics can be traced back to his family background, raised by immigrant parents from Guadalajara, Mexico. After uploading his first single to Spotify in 2017, he has since grown in popularity, now completing back-to-back sell-out headline tours throughout North America.
Eric Nam: Friday, May 14 at 7 p.m. (K-pop)
Eric Nam is a multifaceted Korean American singer, songwriter, entertainer and television personality. He is one of the most popular and recognizable celebrities in Asia and has recently been recognized as GQ Korea’s Man of the Year, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia, and YouTube’s Trending Artist on The Rise. Nam has become one of the most prolific solo Asian acts touring the world.
Hasan Manaj: Saturday, May 15 at 6 p.m. (Comedy/Politics)
Hasan Minhaj is the host and creator of the weekly comedy show "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj" which streamed on Netflix and YouTube from 2018 to 2020. The series explored the modern cultural and political landscape through a unique comedic voice. The show received a 2019 Peabody Award, a 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Motion Design," and was recognized for a 2020 Television Academy Honor.