Bear Down Music Festival is back


Griffin Riley

University of Arizona students attend the Bear Down Music Festival on Friday, March 22, in Tucson, Ariz.

Rappers  070 Shake and Tkay Maizda and local bands The Hawthorne Experience, Desert Child and MARZ are headlining the 2023 Bear Down Music Festival on May 3, the first festival since 2019.

The concert will take place on the middle of the University of Arizona Mall where students will be able to scan their CatCard to enter. Organizers haven’t announced a time yet.

Headliner 070 Shake, aka Danielle Balbuena, is an American singer and rapper and part of the 070 musical collective. Shake is presenting at 2023 Coachella, Frost Music & Arts Festival 2023 and a few more festivals along her tour. Shake’s collaboration with RAYE, “Escapism,” gained some traction on social media including TikTok.

Tkay Maizda a Zimbabwean-Australian singer who will be part of Lizzo’s “The Special” Touris touring on her most recent drop, ”Be Somebody” by Emotional Oranges.

The Hawthorne Experience is a local band created in 2019 by brothers Will and Kenny Belcher and their newest addition Jonah Walsh-Hallman completes the trio. Their newest song “Santa Cruz” was released on March 10.

The Tucson band Desert Child also will be part of the festival as well as MARZ, the winner of battle of DJs who will be opening for BDMF.

The music festival is presented by the Wildcat Board of Events  WEB. Students, Soleill Eugenio and Hannah Hudson, members of the concert committee and were in charge of organizing this year’s festival – the first since the pandemic.

The festival will focus on music and bringing the concert experience back to students.

“So, our main focus right now is really connecting students with that concert experience on campus the way other campuses have it, kind of just bringing that back,” said Eugenio.

Eugenio and Hudson have been planning the concert since September 2022. They said they are expecting 5,000 to 10,000 students to attend.

WEB gets its funding from $5 that is charged for every student at the university through student fees. Hudson and Eugenio said they are trying with the May 3 event to set a foundation for future Bear Down concerts.

“it’s about making sure this year is amazing. Making sure students have a wonderful time, but at the same exact time, laying the foundation for next years,” said Hudson.

“I want students to leave feeling euphoric. I want them to leave feeling joyful and I want them to leave if they’re graduating thinking, wow, that was a way, you know, to kick off the rest of my life,” Hudson said. “But if they’re still going to be here in the upcoming years as a student, I want them to think, I can’t wait for next year.”

*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

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