At least 20 acts will share their musical talents on Belmont’s campus Sunday alongside members of the campus Best Buddies chapter in the first ever Best Buddies Music Festival.
The concept, organized by chapter Best Buddies President Meg Barber, is to highlight similarities between the musicians and their paired Best Buddy performers, who have either physical or intellectual disabilities.
“We’re showing this bond and unity that forms when people perform,” Barber said.
The buddies will be showcasing their favorite talents. They range from the expected, like singing, to the unique, like forecasting the weather.
“It’s showing that we’re more alike than we are different, and music is such a great way to show that,” Barber said.
A few days out from the event, the music festival has more than 5,000 views on Facebook, and the Belmont Best Buddies social media accounts have been running countdowns to encourage participation and set the group up for a successful inaugural music festival.
“This is the first year we’re doing this and hopefully not the last,” Barber said.
One pair wrote an original song together to perform at the music festival — a collaboration that proves the foundation of the organization: friendship.
And a friendship forged on similarities. The buddies in the college-level Best Buddies program are working toward graduation from transitional programs at Metro schools, so just like their paired college students, they’re trying to get the degree.
“There’s a common ground between our college students and our buddies, because they’re all working toward the same goals,” Barber said.
Campus Greek life has partnered with Best Buddies as well and will be providing cornhole, a photo booth and other games.
Organizing a new event has been a painstaking undertaking for Barber at times, but the mission of the event grounds her.
“The thing that’s driving it is this inner passion to give people an opportunity they don’t normally have. I know how happy they’ll be when they’re onstage,” Barber said.
UPDATE: Due to weather, the music festival will be held inside the Beaman Student Life Center.