College flautist Azeem Ward’s senior recital is tomorrow. The UCSB student invited about 600 people to the event on Facebook and woke up yesterday to find that an additional 3,400 had confirmed their attendance. Before the event page was taken down or made private, that number had jumped to 41,000. What the hell happened?

Somehow, this week, Ward’s event page became an unlikely object of fascination and target of jokes for the UK internet, prompting thousands of people to visit his Facebook page. There are Azeem Ward image macros, and YouTube mashups of his flute playing with “Gas Pedal” and “Sandstorm”. There are Twitter parody accounts. There is an Azeem Ward Wikipedia page. There are t-shirts and coffee mugs.

In an interview with UCSB’s student newspaper, Ward said that he wasn’t sure how word of his concert made its way across the Atlantic, but that one of the earliest Brits to share the Facebook event was a guy named Damon Poole. “I don’t know him and, at that point, random people started commenting ‘Yea Azeem!’ ‘You’re gonna kill it!’ ‘It’s gonna go off,’” Ward told the Daily Nexus. “And then I started seeing the memes, you know, like me on the moon with girls and stuff.”

Ah yes, the memes. Azeem the meme.

UCSB’s Karl Geiringer Hall, where the recital will take place, only seats about 100 people, Ward told the UK news site The Tab. One fan launched a petition asking that the concert be live streamed in order to accommodate the sudden overflow.

The biggest show of Azeem Ward’s life begins at 3 pm local time tomorrow. Check it out if you’re in the area. I hear he’s pretty good.

Photo via Azeem Ward/Facebook. Contact the author at