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Biggest Little Festival — the annual spring music event hosted by the Associated Students of the University of Nevada was canceled for the spring 2024 semester.

Referred to as “Biggest Little Flop” or “Biggest Little Failure” by some anonymous posters on Yik Yak, many students were left confused and disappointed.

SInce 2016, BLF has seen many famous musicians headline: JID, Louis the Child, YG and Ella Mai. Traditionally, ASUN holds a music event once a semester: the Welcome Week Concert and BLF. However, a new festival came to light in BLF’s absence: The Joe Fest. Put on for the first time on April 12 in the Joe Crowley Student Union Ballrooms, Joe Fest showcased three local bands — Bender World, Honey Plant and Don Luxe —  and caught flack for the lack of advertising and next-to-nothing turnout.

To clarify, Joe Fest was not meant to be a substitute for BLF, there were different entities involved in the organization of that event, but it caught flack in the absence of the original festival. 

Zoe Malen / Nevada Sagebrush
The turnout of Joe Fest on April 12. Joe Fest was criticized for its thin turnout and lack of advertising.

The cancellation of BLF raised questions about why the event was quietly pushed to the side. 

Sandra Rodriguez, director of the Center for Student Engagement, cited funding issues stemming from COVID-19, when the university had inflated budgets from surplus funds. Rodriguez said ASUN was spending upwards of $300,000 in recent years from the inflated budgets, and the funds were expended quickly. 

“By fall, the realization hit that there was not going to be $300,000 to work with,” said Rodriguez. 

When funds dried up, there was a backup plan to work with an outside sponsor and get money for BLF through alternative sources. However, more issues arose during the process of working with the outside sponsor, according to Rodriguez. 

The first issue that arose was the venue: BLF was supposed to be hosted in a parking lot, but it was soon discovered that the space was not reservable. 

One of the larger problems was the age limit. The outside sponsor wanted to make BLF an 18+ show, but due to a university policy, UNR advised against it. This further exacerbated the issues with the university, ASUN, the outside sponsor and the festival as a whole. 

“Doing an 18+ show opens us up to a lot of liabilities,” said Rodriguez. “When the dust finally settled, we took a step back … and there was the question if we should be spending this money”.

Rodriguez also cited lowered enrollment as part of the budget issue. ASUN gets their money via a $6.10 student credit fee, therefore if student enrollment dips — like it did in the 2023-2024 school year — ASUN’s budget takes a blow. This a constant fear for ASUN, especially with the upcoming 2024-2025 school year, where they won’t receive enrollment numbers until closer to the start of the fall 2024 semester. 

Dawson Deal, ASUN president, recently presented a budget for the upcoming school year, and it was revealed there would, once again, be less money than hoped. 

Music events at the university aren’t a thing of the past. There will still be money for a fall 2024 Welcome Week Concert, but the future of Biggest Little Festival is looking grim.  

Nick Stewart can be reached at or on Twitter @nickk_stewart 

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