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Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Destroy Lonely to headline 13th Annual Rhythms Music Festival

The festival began as a joke in 2009
David Jones
An attendee smiles in the crowd during the show at the 12th Annual Rhythms Music Festival in Annex I at SFSU on May 13, 2023. (David Jones / Golden Gate Xpress)

Over 700 students are expected to attend Destroy Lonely’s performance on April 27 in Annex I to conclude this year’s Rhythms Music Festival. Redveil will be the opener.

General admission tickets for the main show are available for $20; VIP tickets are $25.

Two free sets of performances will take place, where artists will compete to perform during the main show:

  • Battle of the Bands on April 23, 6-9 p.m. in the Depot
  • D.J. Competition on April 24, 6-9 p.m. in the Depot

The Music Symposium on April 22, from 4:30-6 p.m. in library room 121 had a panel of music industry experts.

Tatianna Ramos, senior director of productions at Associated Students, said planning for the festival started last summer.

“We also plan for other events, meaning that we like to plan ahead of the game… the sooner the better,” Ramos said.

To book the headliners, the A.S. productions team contacts a third-party vendor, who then sends back a list of artists within the team’s budget that appeals to the SFSU community.

The main show is almost always held in the Student Life Events Center, also known as Annex I, which has a capacity of 1100 people. The 10th Rhythms Music Festival, with Bishop Briggs as the headliner, was planned to be held at Fort Mason just to be different, but was canceled due to the pandemic, according to Ramos.

“Our market dates are usually come April or May. We try to make it so that students that are fourth-years, fifth-years, that are graduating, can still make the concert before their graduation,” Ramos said. “It’s a fun way to be done with schooling, classes and have a nice night out and enjoy a concert.”

The festival, now in its 13th year, began when then-student Franko Ali made a Facebook group in 2009, titled “RAVE IN THE ANNEX – Approved if 15,000 SF State Students join this group.” The group’s members were purged but at its peak, the group amassed over 5,000 members.

In 2010, Ali ran for A.S. vice president of university affairs at SFSU and won.

According to previous coverage by Golden Gate Xpress, that year the A.S. board voted on spending $16,000 to bring Travie McCoy, a rapper and singer, to SFSU for a one-time performance.

Ali voted against it because he thought the money could be put to better use, but the proposal won and was approved. When McCoy’s single “Billionaire” was performed on “Glee,” his booking prices went up and out of budget for A.S., causing the proposal to fall through.

Ali presented his counterproposal for a three-day music festival.

“Instead of a single day, one-off concert, take inspiration from things like South by Southwest and try to bring an energy for a week — multiple gigs to span genres, some at the Depot, some larger concerts, and some educational/industry components, like a conference,” Ali said.

The inaugural Rhythms Music Festival was held in March 2011.

“It was a great formative experience for me, to navigate administration and what’s genuinely interesting to students who might’ve cringed at campus-endorsed events,” said Ali, reflecting on the first festival. “Can university events really stand out versus all that’s on in a major city? In my view, we had to make an effort. SFSU is in large part a ‘commuter campus’ but there were some 30,000 students, and many live in the area and craved belonging, culture and connection. It’s on the student representatives to nurture those efforts and use funds responsibly.”

Ali said Horace Mongomery, then-director of programs and services for A.S., understood what the board was trying to do and contributed to making the festival a reality. Ali also said Montgomery was a great mentor.

“Organizing the festival was a challenge, but it was also incredibly rewarding. Bringing together a week-long program with four different events is tough, but worth it,” said Montgomery, who is now A.S. assistant executive director of programs.

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About the Contributors
Neal Wong
Neal Wong, Co-Copy Editor
Neal Wong (he/him) is a third-year journalism student and minoring in urban studies and planning. He was born and raised in San Francisco and attended Washington High School. He has photographed and written for Golden Gate Xpress first as a contributor, then as a photographer, and now as a copy editor. His photos have also been published by the San Francisco Bay ViewSan Francisco Public Press, Mission Local, and Xpress Magazine. Neal has also created and taught four SFSU Experimental College courses. His hobbies include traveling, cooking, and reading.
David Jones
David Jones, Staff Photographer
David Jones (he/they) is a photographer for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in photojournalism and minoring in sociology. He was born in Oakland, California and raised in Hayward, California. His passions are concerts/editorial photography, poetry and searching for new ways of creative expression. During his free time, he enjoys reading, writing poetry, self-reflection and listening to music.

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