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Spring Fling gone: Bear Down Music Festival emerges as replacement

Spring+Fling+a+University+of+Arizona+tradition+since+1974+is+the+largest+student-run+carnival+in+the+nation.+Including+over+30+rides%2C+20+food+booths%2C+and+live+entertainment.%0A
Ana Beltran
“Spring Fling” a University of Arizona tradition since 1974 is the largest student-run carnival in the nation. Including over 30 rides, 20 food booths, and live entertainment.

On March 26 the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and the Wildcat Events Board confirmed that the tradition of Spring Fling, cherished by generations of University of Arizona students, has ended

“The decision to bring this tradition to a close was not made lightly. We recognize the significance of Spring Fling in the lives of many but changing circumstances, evolving community dynamics, and not fully recovering from the pandemic have led us to this difficult choice,” ASUA said in a statement made on the group’s Instagram. 

Starting in 1974, Spring Fling was previously the largest student-run carnival in the country. Now its legacy will only be known to those admitted prior to the class of 2019. In its place, ASUA and WEB are continuing to organize and establish a new tradition —  Bear Down Music Festival

“The positive impact of Bear Down Music Festival on the University of Arizona has been invaluable. Events of this scale boost school spirit and pride, especially because this festival includes performances by student groups and alumni,” Executive Director of WEB Hannah Hudson said. 

However, there has also been some concern over whether Bear Down Music Festival will provide funding for student clubs similar to how Spring Fling used to.

“With us being in the initial fundraising stages and charging for activities at the festival for the first time, it is too soon to determine the long-term effects or impact at this moment,” Hudson said.

Scheduled for April 12 at 4 p.m. on the UA Mall, Bear Down Music Festival will showcase the alternative pop band COIN, the rapper redveil and local Tucson acts Desert Child, The Hawthorne Experience, Sophia Rankin and The Sound and DJ Fausto Durazo.

“I think one of the coolest parts about all of this is that it bridges the gap between tiny local bands like us and pretty big bands,” drummer of The Hawthorne Experience Kenny Belcher said. 

The local group began through mutual friends in fall 2022. Now, The Hawthorne Experience is set to take the stage at the Bear Down Music Festival for the second time at this year’s festival. 

“It makes it so easy for students to see music; they could literally walk out of their dorm half a mile and be there. And maybe for some of them, it is their first music festival experience and they end up having a good time. They may also realize that they don’t have to know the band to have fun,”  lead guitarist and singer Will Belcher said

While some mourn the loss of Spring Fling, others embrace the opportunity for fresh experiences and connections through a new, evolving tradition.


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