The Daily Gamecock

Colaroo brings music festival to Columbia

Live music has slowly been making a return to the social scene, and a class at USC has capitalized on it. This Friday, The Senate will host the first annual Colaroo music festival.

The event will feature bands and artists such as PATx, Spank! The 80s, Big Thunder and the Rumblefish, Kate Vera, Speenz, H3RO and ZOLA. According to Kenzie McCarter, the social media coordinator of the Instagram page @colaroolive, this variety of artists was necessary to get tunes ranging from '80s covers to hip-hop.

"We really wanted it to be something that, like, no man left behind," McCarter said.

McCarter is a student in the special topics in live entertainment and sport class on managing and creating music festivals. The class worked with its adjunct professor, David Britt, to develop the idea of Colaroo in August.

“I know that a lot of people are feeding for live music, and so it's really cool to be a part of something that's going to bring that together," said Katie Arnold, a fourth-year sport and entertainment management student in the class.

Colaroo is student-staffed, but Solid Entertainment, a company owned by Britt, is putting it on.

Britt, Colaroo's director, said the reason he wanted to host, organize and collaborate with his students on Colaroo is to "provide job experience for people while they were in my class without them having to do an outside internship."

The first step to organizing the festival was deciding on a name. Colaroo is a "play on Bonaroo," Britt said, and the students ran with the idea of a festival experience.

The class decided on the right date for Colaroo to debut and found artists it felt students would enjoy and engage with, Arnold said. Another important part of the process was coordinating with The Senate on precautions and safety for event-goers and performers.

The class launched the festivities online and has managed social media pages to promote the event. Arnold said putting this event on has come with a lot of experience for future jobs.

Colaroo organizers wanted the event to be “safe, socially distant, but also spectacular,” McCarter said.

“This is kind of a way for the event industry to kind of find its way back safely and slowly,” Britt said.

Bands will be performing at stages inside and outside. Attendees will be expected to be seated at tables throughout the show, where food and beverages will be served by the Cafe Strudel food truck and Tin Roof.

“It's just an experience for you to get back out, you know; you get to dress up, you get to, maybe, have some food; have a drink; enjoy downtown in a safe environment,” McCarter said.

Arnold said she hopes the student-organized festival will "stand out in the market and not just blend in with everything else." The team also hopes Colaroo will grow into an event that students can look forward to more than just this year, according to McCarter.

"Hopefully our class builds a really good foundation, and then, in the future, this can continue to being an annual thing," Arnold said.

Colaroo has made an impression thus far, and the team is expecting a "sellout crowd," Britt said.

"We just want to make sure that ... it's also a once-in-a-lifetime experience for students in the area and also just residents of Columbia that would love to come out," McCarter said.

This one-day music festival has tickets for $10 advance pricing and $15 at the door. Colaroo will be held on Friday, Nov. 20 at The Senate. Doors open at 6 pm, and the shows start at 7 p.m.