It all started as a joke three years ago. When one SF State student should have been studying, he instead made a Facebook group titled “If 15,000 people join this group then the campus will let us have a rave in the Annex.”
To Franko Ali’s surprise, the group he created in jest was a big hit and more than 5,000 people joined in the first week. One year later Ali was elected as a member of the Associated Students, Inc., which put him in the position to make his vision of bringing a music festival to SF State a legitimate possibility.
That same year, the ASI board voted on spending $16,000 in ASI fees, paid by students, toward bringing Travie McCoy of The Gym Class Heroes to SF State for a one-time performance.
Ali voted against it because he thought that much money could be put to better use, but he was outnumbered and the proposal was approved.
But when McCoy’s single “Billionaire” was performed on the TV show “Glee,” his booking prices went up and out of range for ASI, causing the proposal to fall through.
Ali used this opportunity to present his counterproposal for a three-day music festival. His proposal passed, and last March the first annual Rhythms Music Festival commenced.
“It was kind of makeshift, we had never done it before at San Francisco State but the three days we had shows, we filled up,” Ali said of last year when the festival took place in the Cesar Chavez Student Center. “We had to turn people away because the venue wasn’t big enough.”
The capacity for this year’s festival is estimated at 900 people at a time.