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What's new with Devilpalooza: This year's free festival hosts Steve Aoki, EDM artists

The annual student-led festival is seeing changes this year that have led to positive student feedback and a large amount of RSVPs

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The crowd of students at Devilpalooza on Saturday, March 26, 2022, at the SDFC fields in Tempe.

On April 19, Sun Devils will crowd together in Mullett Arena to have cake hurled at their faces. Of course, they will also enjoy a free festival, complete with local music and diverse food. 

The Programming and Activities Board has taken on a new angle with its annual student-led Devilpalooza this year. In perhaps one of the most drastic changes, the event is moving indoors after years hosted on the Sun Devil Fitness Complex Intramural Fields. 

The new scenery allows for a better "concert vibe," according to Devilpalooza's Volunteer Coordinator, Jasmine Solis, who is a junior studying biomedical sciences. The decision to switch venues was made to promote sustainability while protecting ASU’s environment. 

"There were a lot of sustainability issues where there was a lot of waste and a lot of unnecessary harm to the environment," said Jen Jacko, the director of Devilpalooza and a senior studying project management and special event management. 

Jacko said Mullett Arena already has the pre-built infrastructure to host a large event and has its own set of sustainability practices in place. 

With the new location, many activities, including locally owned food trucks and vendors, will be placed both inside and outside of the arena rather than immersed in the audience. 

Over time, Devilpalooza has evolved and adapted to the audience. Notable changes have been the choice of artists, who have ranged in genre from country to pop rock. In the past, lineups included some well-known artists, such as Panic! at the Disco, and some local bands such as Slug Bug.

READ MORE: Slug Bug to be Devilpalooza opener after winning Battle of the Bands finale

"I believe that this year we're focusing more on the (University) demographic a little bit better just because the EDM culture is so big here at ASU," said Alan Neri, the head of artist hospitality for Devilpalooza and a junior studying construction management and technology.

Headliner of Devilpalooza and DJ Steve Aoki is joined with other EDM artists, such as SHIFTY, CASTI and Micah Paul. According to Jacko, PAB chose to have artists who match each other’s musical style.

READ MORE: Steve Aoki to headline Devilpalooza 2024

Micah Paul and CASTI are both local DJs who perform at nearby venues and are well-known within the ASU community. The audience enjoyed SHIFTY's performance at last year's Devilpalooza, Jacko said.

According to Neri, many factors go into choosing the Devilpalooza headliner. PAB considers budget options and feedback from the student body. Ultimately, they put their best options up for a vote among the Devilpalooza team. PAB was able to attain Steve Aoki as a headliner through Relentless Beats, a middle agency that produces major festivals in Arizona. 

The festival has had its "ups and downs" when it comes to the popularity of the hired headliner, but this spring, with Aoki having such a big name in the music industry, Devilpalooza has been able to grow in status, according to Neri. 

Aoki follows a legacy of Devilpalooza headliners such as Panic! At The Disco, Hunter Hayes, Rae Sremmurd, T-Pain, Galantis, Quinn XCII, Chase Atlantic and RL Grime. 

"Definitely this year we have gone up (in status), especially with such a big name as Steve Aoki with 11-million plus followers on Instagram," Neri said. "I believe we've definitely grown to an A-list celebrity status for Devilpalooza."

The festival has already gained positive feedback through the amount of RSVPs received. 

"Already our RSVPs are double or over what the capacity of Mullett arena even is," Solis said. "So we're currently planning the logistics of what we do if too many people show up, but it's definitely looking like a big turnout this year." 

As the tradition of Devilpalooza continues to change and grow, Sun Devils are able to enjoy the free event as a part of ASU’s expanding culture.

"Devilpalooza is a place where students can gather and connect as young individuals and just have a good time and have a healthy distraction away from studying and enjoy their college years," Neri said. 

Edited by Sophia Braccio, Sadie Buggle and Grace Copperthite.

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