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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MS Modern brings music, arts festival to Starkville

MS Modern, a budding company aimed at artist collaboration, holds its first Starkville event in the Cotton District Saturday at 6 p.m: the MS Modern Micro Festival, which features innovative music, art and beer straight from microbreweries. 

Greg Gandy, a 24-year-old painter from Madison, Miss., leads the team effort. He said MS Modern formed to allow collaboration rather than competition among Mississippi’s creative minds. 

 “We are a business made up entirely of artists with the goal of connecting, enabling and mobilizing artists of Mississippi through communication and organization,” he said. “We want to have everybody working together instead of against each other.” 

The company aims to display this effort through Mississippi events. 

MS Modern’s first event was a pop-up art show on Jan. 16 at the Mississippi Museum of Art. The show drew in over 200 people, mostly in the 18-35 age range, which is MS Modern’s key demographic. 

The pop-up art show featured the work of MSU alumnus Jon Nowell, who said the art show became a way for young people to work together. 

“It takes a ground level effort to get something together. Instead of working on a painting for your professor’s eyes only, once you finish school, you have to create for an actual audience,” he said. “Then you have to work together to find ways to show it to your audience. It’s about communicating and using the strengths that each person has.” 

On the heels of the pop-up show’s success, MS Modern’s members began work the very next day to form the original ideas of a new music festival. They will be displaying the collaborative efforts in full effect through this Saturday’s Micro Festival. Assembling, organizing and planning a music festival can take months, if not years. Within three months, teams of artists and locals from all across the state have worked to bring the festival to reality, which Gandy said is a true testament to collaboration.

“This is what happens when you work together,” he said. “A bunch of people doing small things can make an incredible impact.”

Gandy said he hopes the festival creates an environment of joy and happiness as well as one of innovation. 

“First and foremost, we want to have a good time for the sake of having a good time,” he said. 

As its website explains, MS Modern’s members want to push the state forward through artistry. 

“Our aim is to propel Mississippi forward through creativity,” the site said. 

The festival seems on track to accomplish that goal with the line up of bands and variety of entertainment. The festival features bands from across the country as well as bands from Mississippi. RBTS WIN, a band out of Asheville, NC, is on the edge of its big break. Its synth tunes align closely with M.I.A., with whom the band has played festivals with. The Box Tiger, a band from Ontario, has played sold-out shows with Foster the People. Oh, Jeremiah, from Hattiesburg, and Graball Freerun, from Starkville, will round out the festival line-up. DJ GLOtron will play sets on the side stage between the bands’ sets. 

Gandy said he believes bringing in outside artists will help the Mississippi bands gain exposure to the outside bands’ circles. 

“These artists are about to blow up,” he said. “We hope that bringing them in for the festival will encourage the mixing of their circles.” 

The Micro Festival will also feature the fashion designs of Hi Lo, based out of New Orleans. 

Gandy said models will showcase the designs in an unconventional way. 

“The models will be wearing Hi Lo’s design while standing on platforms to serve as living sculpture,” he said. 

Gandy said he hopes more festivals will take place in the future throughout the state. 

“We plan to go from Starkville to Oxford, Ocean Springs, Jackson and Hattiesburg. Hopefully there will be two festivals each year,” he said. “Each city will have a large hand in defining how those festival stages will look.”

Gandy said local effort is a large contributor to this weekend’s festival in particular. 

“All of us at MS Modern are grateful and humbled by their generosity and the generosity of Starkville as a whole,” he said. “This event was brought into reality through the overwhelming support of the Mississippi Development Authority, Dan Camp, the City of Starkville, and many others that chose to support the arts through action rather than words.”

The free festival will take place in the Cotton District on Saturday at 6 p.m. MS Modern will sell T-shirts, beer and armbands for beer in order to fund the event. The armbands cost $2 for participants over 21. With the purchase of an armband, MS Modern will donate $1 to Mississippi Food Network, an organization that provides meals for hungry Mississippians. Every dollar given to Mississippi Food Network provides for seven meals. The festival has a goal of selling 1,000 armbands in order to provide 7,000 meals. The goal furthers the overarching theme of collaboration that winds throughout the entire event. 

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MS Modern brings music, arts festival to Starkville