When third-year creative writing major Richard Lu explained how he got his ticket in time for the upcoming HEAT festival, he said, “I wanted to make sure that I’d get a HEAT ticket so I lined up on the very first day. I think the (line) was fine; it moved at an efficient speed because there are a lot of people that pass those tickets.”
Lu is one of thousands of university students who were able to get their concert stub from the HUB information desk, which first began the distribution of tickets on Monday, Feb. 3. Within three days, all 10,000 purple student tickets and 2,750 green student affiliate tickets were gobbled up by students waiting in lines that stretched around the HUB.
Student tickets are free for currently enrolled UCR students with valid student identification cards and the student affiliate tickets may only be purchased by a UCR student for a flat fee of $28.50, with a limit of two tickets per student. Student tickets require a student ID as proof of entry into HEAT, while student affiliate tickets do not require one.
Funded by a $110 quarterly student fee, the Highlander Union Building (HUB) is in charge of organizing the annual HEAT festival, which this year will feature notable artists such as Childish Gambino, Ciara and Portugal. The Man.
Members of the UCR community have expressed discontent over the limited supply of tickets, which accommodates only about half of the growing student population of more than 21,000. But according to HUB Director Todd Wingate, HEAT, along with all other large-scale campus concerts, is predicated on a state of capacity.
“We’ve given out everything in the ability for us to give out. We can’t fit everyone in (and) we also can’t fit everyone in the gate,” he said. “The core of campus is a pretty finite state, so there isn’t a lot of expansion that you could do to really increase the number of people who can get in and out of the core.”
In collaboration with the UC Police Department, UCR’s risk management team and the campus fire marshal, the HUB Board has only been permitted to release approximately 12,750 student tickets for the HEAT concert. Wingate reports that the maximum concert cap is required to meet state health and safety regulations.
Located at the core of campus, the first HEAT festival occurred in 2007 and entertained a campus student population of about 17,000 students, a number which has increased since. “The very first year we (organized HEAT), we thought we’d get a couple thousand students,” Wingate said. “We ended up with 7,000 students (which was) way over than what we thought (so) it wasn’t a very safe event; we ended up with police, helicopters and all kinds of stuff on our campus.”
It wasn’t until the following year that the HUB decided to take greater security measures, such as putting up gates and beginning a ticket distribution system. The HUB Board of Governors desired to find a good medium for accommodating any student guest, without displacing the students who pay HUB fees themselves, which led to the sale of affiliate tickets.
UCR is the traditional venue for HEAT, but Wingate questions whether or not it is time to find another location. “We’ve been using the core of campus (but) maybe we’ve got to start thinking about other places,” he expressed. “I’m not quite sure where else that could be, but we’re absolutely certain to look at that. We want (HEAT) to be the best experience that it could be for all of our students.”
Since the HUB does not regulate the distribution of tickets once they are sold or given out, this leaves many loopholes open for ticket scalping and scamming. Through Facebook groups such as “Free and For Sale,” many members of the UCR community have resorted to selling tickets with exorbitant price tags that go up as high as $85.
UCR student Naa Ayele Aryeetey-Azenab expressed discontent on social media about the fraction of available student tickets. “I’m mad at the fact my student fees go towards the HUB and HUB events and I’m not being able to fully utilize what I’m being charged for,” she wrote.
Former ASUCR Vice President of Internal Affairs and UCR alumnus Kevin Jo took on a different perspective and commented on the negative impact of the upcoming festival. “HEAT is becoming a wide known concert/festival. Lots of students from other UCs/CSUs/CCs are trying to go to HEAT,” he said. “This causes many implications for the city during the weekend. Most notably, noise complaints from the neighborhood because students have pre-HEAT parties and after parties.”
The upcoming HEAT festival will operate from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., shifting an hour back from last year’s schedule, which was 6 p.m. to midnight. Additionally, the beer garden will not be active and there will only be two larger stages instead of one large stage and two stages as done in the past.
UCPD Lt. Jason Day also says his department will offer several medical transports for alcohol-related incidents. “We do usually see one or two incidents arising from falls and similar injuries each concert, usually near or in the crowds at the front of the stages … It has been my experience that these injuries are common to most large concerts that are similar in nature to HEAT, including our own Block Party and Spring Splash.”
Students who decide to return their HEAT tickets back to the HUB will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win monetary gift cards. Wingate reports that only about six students participated in the drawing last year with one student reportedly winning a $100 gift card to Hallmark. Students who still hope to get their free HEAT ticket may sign up on a waitlist at the HUB Information Desk.