Students make music festival dream a reality


The Indie Fest showcased student talent, local talent and traveling talent. They scoped out musicians around Grounds, through Facebook and word of mouth.


The idea started a year ago, when second-year College student Joanna Spotswood went to a networking lunch. She started a friendship with the girl randomly seated next to her, and the two started a year-long project that culminated Thursday in the Corner Indie Fest.

“[I was introduced to a girl who] had created this project called Unresume through HackCville and [the] project [prompted students to ask]: what would you do if you could do anything, it wouldn’t end up on your résumé and you could accomplish it?” Spotswood said.

For Spotswood, the answer was to start a music festival. She approached third-year College student and fellow music major Olivia Bona for help on the project.

“I [thought], ‘I don’t know [Bona] that well but she’s the girl for it’,” Spotswood said. “I just had this sense.”

Bona, the current leader of Unresume, also founded the Music and Performing Arts Council.

The pair was supported considerably by sponsors at HackCville, who helped the pair create contacts and find funding for their project. Bona and Spotswood teamed up with a group of business owners and consultants to put their plans in action.

“We got picked up by a corporate sponsor — these two guys who have their own consulting and management business,” Bona said. “They helped us identify and accomplish really big goals that we probably could not have done on our own. From there, [they helped with] finding out what we need, the kind of people we need, the timelines, the contacts. And then we went rogue.”

Aside from professional support, the sponsorship sealed in the idea of the music festival and made plans concrete.

“I think most importantly what they did for us was show us that this idea was valid,” Bona said. “Sometimes I feel like students, here especially, have these huge ideas that they think are not accomplishable because they’ve never done anything like it before.”

Though the festival was smaller this year than either had originally hoped, Spotswood and Bona were able to showcase student talent, local talent and traveling talent. They scoped out musicians around Grounds, on Facebook and through word of mouth.

The pair brought together first-year College student Alexia Willems and fourth-year College student George Guthrie. They were also successful in acquiring performances from Keelan Donovan, who has played in South by Southwest, and Robbie Phillips of the Dirty Lions.

“The girls saw me at the Pigeon Hole in November, [when] I was on tour,” Donovan said. “They stopped and listened and they asked me if I wanted to play in this festival. We’ve been talking ever since.”

Spotswood said she finds the indie music genre especially captivating.

“I feel like it’s some of the most pure music,” Spotswood said. “I wanted acoustic music. There are no computers covering it up. It’s the music that I love and [that] speaks to me.”

Published April 6, 2014 in Life

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