By Blake Nelson
The gates opened last Saturday at 1:30 p.m. for the University of Nevada, Reno’s next step toward a more cohesive campus and community – the Biggest Little Festival.
A line stretched to the entrance of the intramural fields, lengthening and shortening throughout the afternoon and into the night. Attendees wore trendy festival attire in Reno’s dry heat to see national and local acts perform, the largest of which being California gangster rapper YG.
The festival included over 10 musical acts and featured multiple local vendors and dicey carnival rides for the courageous festivalgoer. It spread across the eastern intramural field and parking lot, lending itself to the festival tone that the Associated Students of the University of Nevada initially set out to achieve.
The Biggest Little Festival served as UNR’s Welcome Week concert; however, notable measures were taken to focus on the community and to overall make the experience richer, compared with past Welcome Week concerts.
Continuing a theme of “Campus to the City” laid out for ASUN and the university, the festival acted as another reason for students and community members to mingle and to feel accustomed and comfortable with each other.
Community members could buy tickets the day of at a higher price than students but with all of the perks that a student ticket offered.
Casandra Hurdle, director of event programming for ASUN, anticipates the result of the festival being a platform for community growth, as well as a new tradition for the university.
“I hope the city sees that we do big and really exciting things and want to be a part of that,” Hurdle said when asked what the event would mean for the city.
Vendors were also invited to bring the city onto the campus and allow students to experience what Reno has to offer.
“I graduated from Nevada … and I also played softball,” said Britton Murdock, owner of The Biggest Little Fashion Truck. “I love this campus and I love this university, and I really want to get involved with the university’s students.”
Vendors included local food trucks like Still Rolling, an egg roll vendor, and The Golden Choke, a pop-up store that specializes in handmade choker necklaces.
ASUN also focused on the university as a whole, taking special care to include a range of genres and performers. The various performers ranged from electronic dance music to the aforementioned gangster rap of YG.
“We’re trying to reach a bigger audience for this event,” said Brandon Boone, president of ASUN. “This year we really tried to diversify the artists that we brought.”
The people who went to the festival were treated to a variety of music styles and types of performances. Most noteworthy among the acts was the explosive performance of Zella Day and the dance-inducing beats of What So Not.
It should be noted that YG’s set was anticlimactic to say the least. He showed little enthusiasm and played much fewer songs than anticipated. If this reflects on the festival, however, then it only reflects as a growing pain for the festival and not a major flaw.
Students and community members alike danced into the night, enjoying local food and carnival attractions in between the larger acts’ sets.
The direction that ASUN is taking is toward inclusion and community among students and their neighbors.
“I want this to be a staple of the campus and a way to further the ‘Campus to the City’ initiative,” Hurdle said. “When you look back I want [BLF] to be what really started it though.”
Students and members of the community can anticipate the fourth annual March from the Arch event preceding the homecoming game being more inclusive of the community as well as incorporating more parts of the university into the event.
Blake Nelson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @b_e_nelson.