Bonnaroo for Credit? Belmont Students Prep for Unconventional Study Away Program

Belmont at Bonnaroo Group Shot

A new Belmont Abroad program takes students from Nashville to nearby Manchester, Tennessee this week, and this  Belmont at Bonnaroo Maymester experience promises to deliver a unique academic immersion into festival culture and in-depth music research.

Led by faculty members Dr. Sarita Stewart (music business) and Dr. Ken Spring (sociology), this program consists of two co-curricular classes “Research Methods and Festival Culture” and “Sociology of Music.” During May, enrolled students spent time in the classroom studying the role of music in society and the various attributes surrounding its meaning.  They also learned about various quantitative and qualitative methodologies used in research study designs.

This week the students will apply what they’ve been learning by attending and conducting a research study at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival from June 7-10 in partnership with Bonnaroo leadership.

Stewart said, “Basically, during the course of Bonnaroo, the students will be conducting research for the festival.  The class has been divided into four groups of five. The Bonnaroo team sent us 12 questions that they were interested in from a Gen Z standpoint. Dr. Spring and I are working with the class to develop qualitative research designs around issues of community, design, branding and fan consumption. Each group has to conduct 20 interviews for the class, so it breaks down to four interviews per person, one per day.”

Beyond the Generation Z research, students will also attend guest lectures each day of the festival from “Artists/Executives In Residence,” including a Belmont alumnus playing the festival, a music attorney, a brand executive, an artist development/promotions leader and a rock publicist, among others.

Updates from “Belmont at Bonnaroo” will be posted on the University’s Instagram account throughout the weekend.