MTSU’s College of Mass Communication and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival have entered into a partnership that will help students better understand the dynamics of one of the world’s most successful entertainment events.
Bonnaroo officials will visit campus this month for a question-and-answer session with students. Then, students from the college will participate in the behind-the-scenes activities at the festival as part of their education. This year’s festival is set for June 12-15 in Manchester, Tenn.
“Bonnaroo is one of the most successful, ambitious and diverse music festivals in the world,” said Mass Communication Dean Ken Paulson, “and it is also one of the most generous.”
Paulson said Bonnaroo partners Ashley Capps, owner of AC Entertainment, and Rick Farman, co-founder of Superfly Presents, will come to MTSU on April 9 to work with mass communication students.
Capps, recognized as one of the foremost independent promoters in the U.S., creates, produces, books and presents hundreds of concerts every year through his company, AC Entertainment. He began promoting shows while a student at the University of Tennessee in the late 70s.
Farman’s Superfly Presents is an entertainment and lifestyle company with offices in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago. In addition to Bonnaroo, it is the creator of other groundbreaking events such as San Francisco’s Outside Lands held annually in Golden Gate Park. Superfly Marketing Group (SMG), the company’s marketing arm, has worked with a who’s who of corporate titans, both at Superfly-produced festivals as well as standalone marketing programs.
In 2002, Capps and Farman teamed up to create Bonnaroo, which was acclaimed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 50 moments that changed the history of rock ‘n’ roll. The festival is now known not only for its legendary lineups but also for its commitment to green initiatives, philanthropy and the improvement of the community it calls home.
The partnership with MTSU is the culmination of an emphasis on education in Tennessee. Capps and Farman have done speaking engagements across the state, including at UT as well as Belmont and Vanderbilt universities.
“MTSU and Bonnaroo are neighbors, so it makes sense to work together,” Farman said. “While creating Bonnaroo, we learned lots of lessons we can share with students studying business, communications and the music industry.”
Paulson said the partnership also includes a symposium that MTSU will host in the fall of 2014 on the “Anatomy of a Music Festival: The Bonnaroo Story and the Future of Festivals.”
“Bonnaroo has always given back to the community and is now offering a new generation of aspiring music industry professionals a real understanding of what goes into a world-class, live music event,” Paulson said.
MTSU boasts the fifth-largest mass-communication college in the nation and is the only one that features departments of recording industry, journalism and electronic media communication. It also is home to the Center for Popular Music, which maintains a large research library and archive and interprets various aspects of American vernacular music.
A survey by Radio Television News Association, published by TV Week’s NewsPro magazine, recently listed the college among the nation’s top 20 programs. More information about the college can be found www.mtsu.edu/masscomm.
— Andrew Oppmann (firstname.lastname@example.org)