With the theme of “Cultivating Love & Resilience,” the 39th annual Multicultural Festival  (MCF) promises to uphold its tradition of bringing together different cultures represented at UC Santa Cruz and the city of Santa Cruz.

The May 19 festival will feature food, performances and spoken word from different communities. Put together by 15 student organizations, MCF will be from 12-6 p.m. at Oakes Lower Lawn.

“[MCF] really provides us a space where any and everyone can come and really represent their culture through food, through performance and really through spoken word,” said festival emcee Gavin Huynh. “It gives everyone a chance to take passion and pride in their culture without in any way degrading others, it’s just all love and all compassion.”

City on a Hill Press took a look into some of the preparation, practice and pride that goes into one of the largest annual campus events.


Planning for this year’s MCF began in late January, and the planning committee has met every Friday up until May 11. Members of the 15 involved organizations held a four-hour work day on May 12  to make signs for each organization’s food vendor. The MCF committee is completely student-based and members hold positions such as logistics, entertainment, advertising and food chairs. Each student involved put in various hours of hard work weekly to prepare for MCF.

Involved organizations include but are not limited to: Bayanihan, the Chinese Student Association, the Indian Student Association, Hermanos Unidos, Hermanas Unidas and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán. Fraternities and sororities were also integral to the planning and will be among those selling food during the event.

“We definitely did a lot of work outside the meetings,” said committee logistics co-chair Ashley De La Rosa.  “[At the event] We’re going to see a lot of collaborations of a lot of organizations coming together to run this event. […] There’s going to be a lot of lively colored signs, a lot of different food, a lot of different performances. Student performers have been working super hard from acapella to K-pop to Sabrosura.”


About $25,000 of the funding for MCF came from the Committee on Ethnic Programming grant, which committee members applied for prior to winter quarter. The rest of the funding for the event came from money which rolled over from last year’s MCF event. The committee paired with companies in Santa Cruz to host drawings for gift certificates to raise money for the festival. Food sold at the booths at the event goes back to each organization that prepared and sold it, making MCF one of the largest fundraising events for the organizations involved.


Outreach for past MCFs have included fundraising by selling foods in Quarry Plaza in addition to promoting the event. This year, however, committee members organized a “mini-MCF,” which took place on May 14. At the “mini-MCF,” performers demonstrated what they have been preparing since their audition to be on the set list.

“Fliers can only do so much, sending out emails can only do so much,” said entertainment chair Diego Leon de Jesus. “We wanted to create a short event, something small, […] to get a taste of what’s going to come on the actual event.”


This year, involved organizations will take on more roles in the preparation of the food sold at the event. Stationed at dining halls and other community kitchens around campus, students will be spending the majority of the day before the event preparing food to be sold the day of.

Culture-specific food that will be prepared and sold includes mangoneadas from Sigma Pi Alpha, three sister stew from Student Alliance of North American Indians, Vietnamese coffee from Alpha Kappa Delta Phi and lumpia from Bayanihan.


Illustration by Anna Leon


Santa Cruz-based Brazilian band SambaDá will be one of the headlining acts at the festival. Blending funk and reggae with salsa and cumbia, SambaDá has been welcomed across the nation. Singer and dancer Dandha da Hora came to Santa Cruz and formed the band in 2005. Hailing from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, the band credits her for introducing her Afro-Brazilian heritage to the ensemble. Bringing song, dance and traditional dress from South America to Santa Cruz, SambaDá promises to be a lively show.


Weapons of Mass Creation

With five of the six members of Weapons of Mass Creation being siblings, the story of their band is the story of a reunion. After the Franco siblings went to different UCs across California including UCSC, they rejoined to create their current hip-hop group in 2014. Afro-Latino rapper and close family friend Josh Quiñonez was also introduced to the band at this time. Weapons of Mass Creation’s politically-driven rap lyrics highlight issues of police brutality, immigration and sexism among others.

Illustration by Anna Leon.