Block Party 2019 lifts the masses but misses the magic of years past

Martin Lopez /HIGHLANDER

All across UCR, new and returning students lined up to kick off the new year with the 31st annual Block Party. Fresh off the heels of the wildly successful Spring Splash 2019, the stage was set for ASPB to successfully start the new year with a bang. Block Party 2019 featured DJ Bella Fiasco, strong vibes with Smino and headliner hip-hop icon Lil Baby. On top of this, the event also featured strong attractions; people flocked to the highly popular henna tattoo station and the food vendors. This year’s Block Party was ready to take UCR by storm yet the excitement waned over the course of the night. Despite this, the event still was able to pull off a fun and safe event for those in attendance.  

 

Artists

Ryan Poon /HIGHLANDER

This year’s featured artists made up one of the better lineups in recent memory. While DJ Bella Fiasco’s set was strong, the long lines had prevented many like myself from being able to fully enjoy her DJing prowess. Her overall liveliness and impressive set lended the audience strong energy that would help carry the crowd into special guest Boombox Cartel.

 

Early into the evening, Boombox Cartel got the crowd pumped with his electrifying EDM and dubstep, which kept the crowd excited and moving. The duo’s performance benefited greatly from the early evening time slot as it raised the crowd’s spirits. The popular duo’s set was one of the event’s highlights, which gave the crowd the much needed energy to stay motivated and lifted. 

 

Smino began his set later than expected but with some very slow and chill beats that many appreciated. His quick lyrical style and good vibes soothed the crowd. Due to this, his set dampened the high energy the crowd carried before. In addition, the various lulls during the performance progressively lowered the crowd’s vigor as the evening dragged on. Smino held the crowd’s attention as he performed some of his strongest songs, such as “KLINK” and “L.M.F.”, and gave out soul-like vibes to all in attendance. 

 

Finally, the headlining hip-hop beast, Lil Baby, took the stage and crowd by force with a strong opening of his more famous crowd pleasing songs. However, his set suffered from a combination of his late start and waning passion from the crowd. Still, his set was able to bookend the night with classic beats like “Pure Cocaine” and “Drip too Hard.” Regardless of the lulls in between performances and fading thrills, the line up for this year’s event proved to be stellar and held up against other great Block Party lineups.

 

Attractions

Lloyd Kao /HIGHLANDER

With many returning and new sponsors, the amenities featured at Block Party had amazing variation to all in attendance. One of the more interesting places to visit at the event was the wellness zone tent. Providing comfy cushions and a chill place to rest, it’s awesome to see The Well looking out for the betterment of the student population and to provide a safe space for support and special resources. It was definitely a big help to those in need and I hope to see it return for future events. Once again, the inflatable slide, friendship bracelet tent and rock wall seemed to be the weakest attractions despite the new euro bungee activity. These four attractions seemed to be overshadowed by the public’s new favorite, the highly-popular henna booth. The tattoo line was always full and had people in and out frequently. It was one of the better attractions at the event with some high quality art being showcased. With major queue lines, the stand was a roaring success. This year’s Block Party had some great new attractions that hopefully make their way to other ASPB events.  

 

Food

With every ASPB event, the row of food trucks returned with some welcome new additions to the lineup. While the eateries still had campus favorites like Culinary Chameleon, the food truck selection was especially diverse this year. Crepes Bonaparte was a standout with their fresh French breakfast and dessert crepes. Alongside this, Dina’s Dumplings and White Rabbit were able to deliver delicious traditional Chinese and Filipino food respectively. While the food is still overpriced as always, the selections this year gave many substantial selections for any student looking for something simple or exotic. This year definitely had some of the best truck selections ASPB has had for their events. 

 

In spite of the lower than expected excitement, the event was still able to provide stellar performances by Smino and Lil Baby especially. With the popular new attractions and food trucks, the event carried a fresh enough feel to be welcoming to any and all students. Despite the various lulls during the event, it shows that UCR is still committed to deliver on great events for the student body as a whole. The event gives hope to future planned ASPB events to provide a bigger and better experience.

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