Minerpalooza celebrates 30 years with first-ever virtual show


Minerpalooza celebrates 30 years with first-ever virtual show

Paulina Astrid Spencer, Entertainment Editor

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and social-distancing orders, Minerpalooza coordinators are determined to keep the tradition alive by hosting the first-ever, live-streamed show in the history of UTEP in celebration of the event’s 30th anniversary. 

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has defined 2020, UTEP was challenged with the decision of whether to cancel MinerpaloozaUTEP’s annual back to school celebration. Many major festivals such as Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza were canceled because of the growing cases of coronavirus and the stay-at-home orders across the United StatesArtists and musicians were also forced to cancel world tours, while others shifted to online platforms to continue performing.  

Minerpalooza coordinators decided that after a rough year, UTEP students and the El Paso community needed a distraction, ultimately deciding to bring the show to everyone by streaming it virtually. Described as “one of the first hybrid models” by Jorge Vazquez, UTEP’s executive director of special events, Minerpalooza will include different elements to provide the best experience possible.  

“We understand that a lot of the students are maybe back home, wherever that is, and we still wanted them to be a part of it, but we wanted to be as pervasive as possible, so that anybody, can have access to Minerpalooza,” Vazquez said. 

This year marks Minerpalooza’s 30th anniversary and the director of student engagement, Nicole Aguilar, was not ready to dismiss the show during a symbolic year. Instead, Aguilar pushed to transform the event and turn it into something the whole community can enjoy 

We are not going to let the pandemic stop us and keep us from celebrating another academic school year, the success of our institution, and to support our partners, which are the students and their fundraising efforts, and everyone who has been a part of Minerpalooza,” Aguilar said. “Students are the heart and soul of what keeps traditions like this alive, and we made sure that students were at the forefront.” 

The decision to go virtual took Vazquez and Aguilar months to finalize. What started as a “vision” for Aguilar, soon turned into a solid idea that made sense. Planning for Minerpalooza began before the pandemic struck El Paso, and many changes were made to adapt to the current health environment.  

“We still had this desire to really share UTEP’s biggest tradition with not just the UTEP community, but also with the local community who has always been so supportive,” Aguilar said. 

Although the line-up of attendees has not been made known, Vazquez assures the experience will be unique and fun for people viewing at home. 

“It is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime situation, so we are making the most of it,Vazquez said. “It’s going to be everything, there will be live elements, pre-produced elements, hybrid elements. We don’t want to just produce a video and then just broadcast it, we want to make it live and minimize the technology challenges, making it a combination of everything.” 

The announcement was received with mixed reactions from people, some saying they will tune in, while others saying they will not, according to an Instagram poll by The Prospector.  

Further announcements, such as the artist line-up and where to stream, will be available to students via e-mail and through Minerpalooza’s social media platforms in the upcoming weeks. 

Paulina Astrid Spencer may be reached at [email protected]