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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Bulldog Bash finds a new venue

Megan Bean | Courtesy Photograph

Bulldog Bash will be moved from the Cotton District to the Ampitheater this year.

Earlier this month, the Student Association of Mississippi State University announced the location of their annual concert Bulldog Bash was being moved from the Cotton District to the Amphitheater, located on campus. The announcement fell under criticism from local businesses in the District who believe the change in venue will have a negative impact on business.

Bulldog Bash is a free outdoor concert featuring several bands each year on a Friday before one of MSU’s home SEC football games. It began in 1999 and drew a crowd of about two thousand people. More recently, crowds have exceeded thirty thousand.

SA president Roxanne Raven cited increasing attendance as just one of the reasons for choosing a new venue.

“We moved downtown,” Raven said, “but the roads just are not wide enough. There were some issues with overhanging streetlights and electric poles. Again, the big issue with that is, even with small productions, we bring in two to three eighteen-wheelers. A big production can bring up to fifteen eighteen-wheelers.”

Raven said the list of potential locations included side streets downtown on Main Street, areas a few blocks from Main Street, or an area by the Starkville Daily and Russell Street. The SA felt each had a litany of obstacles that prevented it from being chosen.

“With Russell Street,” Raven said, “which was somewhere I was really excited about, and I hope that’s the future of Bulldog Bash, I can’t speak for future administrations obviously, but it would have been a great location this year if not for the construction they are doing there.”

The SA’s decision to move to the Amphitheater evoked some harsh criticism from local businesses which profit on the concert each year. Jorge Badillo, the general manager of Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern, who has set up a tent as vendors at previous Bashes, said he was worried about the turnout.

“As of now, we’ll still try to be involved this year as vendors,” Badillo said. “I’m just skeptical of the move.”

Badillo was not alone in his skepticism. Jennifer Prather, the special events and projects coordinator at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, said the GSDP had heard complaints from many businesses over the move. Prather said Bulldog Bash is very important to the community and lots of disappointment came with the change in venue.

“While we are disappointed that a compromise could not be made,” Prather said, “we support the decision of the students.”

Alex Coats, the SA director of Bulldog Bash, said they were also disappointed that they could not make the District work this year, but he remained hopeful that the Amphitheater would prove to be a compelling venue.

“The stage at the Amphitheater is great,” Coats said. “It’s a great location on campus. We’ve got a beautiful, amazing campus. It’s a great atmosphere. It doesn’t get utilized enough, and we’re excited to use it for this event.”

Coats said that he and the rest of the SA committee behind the Bash initially had negative feelings about moving, but they now hope to turn those negative emotions into positive ones. Coats said they were all committed to changing people’s criticism into positivity by making the event memorable and amazing.

We’re really excited about the opportunity to turn all that negative energy, maybe all that anger into something positive,” Coats said. “Not only for ourselves but for everybody else.”

One way Coats said he hopes to alleviate concerns is by employing strategies to get local businesses involved in the event.

“We want to invite the businesses of the Cotton District and incorporate them in any way possible,” Coats said. “We always do a Maroon Market where we invite local vendors to come and set up, and I think that will be a big part of it this year as well.”

The SA will release specific information about this year’s Bulldog Bash periodically leading up to the concert. For more information, contact the students orchestrating Bulldog Bash at [email protected].

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Bulldog Bash finds a new venue