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Davis, California

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

A sneak peek into the entertainment lineup for Picnic Day 2023

Indie music, stand-up and African dance all have a place on this year’s stage


By CORALIE LOON — arts@theaggie.org 


With Picnic Day 2023 just around the corner, local artists and performers are getting ready to celebrate another year of Aggie pride and Davis community. The official Picnic Day website has been counting down the days until this well-loved tradition, and many are stoked for the return of on-campus classics. Events include Doxie Derby and cow milking as well as a long lineup of local entertainment that brings together musicians, dancers, comedians and more. 

Music has always been a staple of the Picnic Day magic, spreading good vibes and celebration. One act featured this year is Rainbow City Park, named after the local Davis park and play structure. Originally formed by band members Chris O’Keefe and Dwight Struthers, the band came to its current form after adding members Nick Nassab, Ryan Williams and Danielle Judith.

Judith, a singer, guitarist and keyboardist, reflected on finding the other band members through Facebook, which helped them realize they had mutual friends in the Sacramento area. 

“I ended up reaching out and we ended up jamming and it worked out,” Judith said.

The indie-rock band will be releasing new music this May across streaming all platforms and will be announcing new show dates this summer.

On Picnic Day, Rainbow City Park will be playing two shows — one at the Sound Waves Stage on campus at 12:40 p.m. and another at Turtle House, an art-centered housing co-op, at around 4 or 5 p.m.

Judith shared her excitement about the other musicians set to perform at Turtle House alongside Rainbow City Park.

“There’s just a bunch of different bands from a bunch of different genres that are coming together to play on this porch, so I’m really stoked for that,” Judith said.

For lovers of music, alternative spaces and good times, Turtle House will be a great place to check out on April 15. But for those also interested in seeing what on-campus clubs and organizations will be showcasing, Afrovibe’s performance is something you definitely won’t want to miss.

This African dance group specializes in African and Afro-Caribbean dance styles. Their slogan is “catch the beat, feel the vibes,” and that perfectly describes how they hope their art is perceived. Afrovibe will be performing at Sounds of the Horizon Stage at 11:30 a.m.

Dionna Eaglin, the internal vice president of Afrovibes, joined the group without experience in African dance, but soon grew to love it. 

“We’re really welcoming and supportive and I just want our vibes to rub off on [the audience], so that they can also have a good time while watching us and maybe even dance themselves,” Eaglin said.

Tayven Thompson, a fourth-year political science and African/African American studies double major, has been on the dance team since she was a first-year student. For Thompson, finding such an open and accepting community was a relief.

“The Black community at Davis is pretty small,” Thompson said. “So just having that safe space, especially as a freshman, and coming into that environment made me feel very welcomed, and it made me feel like I actually belong here at Davis.”

She and Eaglin hope that Picnic Day will be an opportunity for people to have fun, vibe and enjoy all that African dance has to offer. Anyone interested in joining the dance team is encouraged to come to tryouts on April 21 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the U Center.

But Picnic Day doesn’t just feature music-based performances; it also welcomes other student organizations and entertainers, including UC Davis’s Stand Up Comedy Club (StUCC). Featured this year are comedians Hannah Hayes and Jay Light, who will be at the Sound Waves Stage at 12:10 p.m. (making it the perfect set to watch before Rainbow City Park).

Hayes, a second-year communication major, joined StUCC this past fall and performed her first show in November.

“My dad was a stand-up comic, so I thought ‘Oh, maybe I’ll try it out,’ and it was honestly a lot of fun,” Hayes said.

So far, she has nothing negative to say about her experience in the organization.

 “I love all the people in the club, they’re all really funny and really supportive and so nice. It honestly just [feels] like such an amazing organization and group to be a part of.”

Hayes enjoys story-based comedy, as well as incorporating material from her own life into her sets.

“I also like making fun of things,” Hayes said. “I find that to be a lot of fun.”

StUCC events are the perfect opportunity to decompress, let loose and bring a little joy to your day, which is what Picnic Day is all about. Hayes encourages anyone who’s interested in comedy or making new friends to attend a StUCC meeting, which take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m.  More information can be found on the group’s Instagram page.

Regardless of what you’re most excited to see this Picnic Day, we’re sure you’ll find something worth your time and hope you take the opportunity to see what local artists and performers have to offer to the community.

This is just a snippet of what’s to come; if you want to check out what other entertainment will be happening on Picnic Day, check out the Picnic Day Entertainment page for all official events.

Let the picnic begin!

Written by: Coralie Loon — arts@theaggie.org