Nashville College Students Get Credit For Bonnaroo


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Some of the attendees at this weekend’s Bonnaroo music fest in Manchester, Tenn., will be getting college credit for attending. Students from Nashville’s Belmont University are on their way to nearby Manchester as part of the “Belmont at Bonnaroo” program, which provides academic immersion into festival culture while providing students hands-on experience and relevant music research.

The program is led by Dr. Sarita Stewart of music business and Dr. Ken Spring of sociology. It consists of two co-curricular classes, “Research Methods and Festival Culture” and “Sociology of Music.”

Enrolled students spend time in the classroom studying the role of music in society and the various attributes surrounding its meaning, according to a press release. hey also learn about various quantitative and qualitative methodologies used in research study designs.

Spring has studied music festivals since the first Bonnaroo in 2002. “While I have taken students to see music scenes and subcultures in the UK, I think that Bonnaroo offers a unique opportunity for our students because it is in our backyard. By combining two established Belmont courses, it offers our students a collaborative learning community focusing on music festivals from a holistic approach. They dig deep into understanding the production and consumption models that are necessary when delivering a festival of this magnitude.”

The students are conducting a research study in partnership with Bonnaroo leadership. Stewart said:

“The students will be conducting research with patrons throughout the duration of the festival. The Bonnaroo team has sent us two main questions to explore around the festival experience. Since the overall class content is dovetailed together, Dr. Spring and I are working with the students to determine questions related to issues of Symbolic Identity, Production of Culture, Authenticity and Consumption of Culture at the festival. This research builds upon the themes of Community, Design, Branding, and Consumption that our first group of participants studied last year.”

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