For decades, students at the University of Arizona gathered each spring on the University Mall for a carnival fundraiser.

Spring Fling brought rides, food and student-run booths to campus and, according to some UA graduates, it was a highly-anticipated event.

This year, Spring Fling won’t be held on the University Mall. It hasn’t happened for five years. Instead, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, or ASUA, is putting on the inaugural Bear Down Music Festival.

Will Belcher came to the University of Arizona from Texas in 2019. He had heard about Spring Fling on campus.

“I kept hearing about it and it made me more and more excited for this Spring Fling,” Belcher said. “So when it finally got to my senior year, I was like ‘is this going to happen? I’m about to leave. This is it.'”

Instead, the ASUA started putting together the Bear Down Music Festival.

“At the time, I was like this could be a concession,” Belcher said. “But then I started to think more about what that could be and as a musician, I think maybe they should just keep it this way.”

Belcher and his band The Hawthorne Experience played in what the University Representative called the festival’s “trial run” in 2023.

They’re playing again this year alongside another local band, Desert Child, rapper Redveil and pop band Coin.

Belcher said The Hawthorne Experience has something special for the Festival.

“We’re going to play some of our new songs,” he said, with his band mates nodding in agreement on either side of him. They’re releasing a self-produced album soon.

“I think we wrote, I think, the best song we’ve ever written,” he said. “It took us two days, and it’s going to be on the album. We’re going to play it at Bear Down Fest.”

The Bear Down Music Festival will be on the University Mall on April 12. To get the full festival experience, students will pay $7 for a wristband.

A member of the Student Events Board said that this event won’t be a full replacement of Spring Fling, as there won’t be any student clubs putting up booths, and the event isn’t at the scale of the Spring Fling. However, a University Representative said that they hope to expand the event each year.