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LOUD: Mind and Music highlights mental health through creativity

LOUD’s mascot, Good Vibes Gary, spreads awareness on the oval. Credit: Courtesy of Eric Murray

Students will come together at Trism on Friday to enjoy four hours of live music and arts to raise awareness for mental health through “LOUD: Mind and Music,” a student-led festival.

“I think that music festivals really are the answer to positive change in the world. I believe that with my entire heart,” said Eric Murray, LOUD’s executive director and founder and a fourth-year in arts management.

In addition to performances by local artists such as psychedelic-pop band Captain Kidd and hip-hop artist Juty Gurl, LOUD also will feature art-making workshops, yoga and mental health resource booths.

Murray said he wanted to include each of these outlets in order to include a variety of perspectives and encourage conversations across different communities.

“My main goal with this entire festival is to show people that they’re not alone, that they’re not the only ones that are dealing with something and that there’s a community,” he said.

The festival is a product of Murray’s passion for connecting people and desire to make a positive impact.  

The idea began when Murray was a freshman at Ohio State and noticed that many students were struggling with their mental health.  He knew he wanted to do something to address the issue, but he wasn’t sure what. Then in 2014, he went to Bonnaroo, an arts and music festival in Tennessee.

“I wanted to bring that vibe I saw at Bonnaroo — that free comfortable, positive, atmosphere — I wanted to bring that to Ohio State,” Murray said. “I saw a really big need for it here.”

Over the next few years, the subject of mental health became more personal for Murray, he said, as he began battling anxiety with the stress of financing, school and uncertainty about the future.

“Everything has an impact on your mental health whether it’s good or bad and I saw both ends of it,” Murray said. “I saw things that started to increased my anxiety and my levels of stress but I also saw going to music festivals and how that was completely the opposite end where I was really free of anxiety and free of any kind of reason to worry.”

Murray’s vision finally became a reality earlier this year when he pitched the idea to his Developing Arts Careers: Position and Passion class and 16 other students decided to join his efforts.  

He then formed a partnership with I Will Help You, an initiative started in the College of Nursing with the shared goal of creating conversation around mental health and providing resources for people struggling with mental health issues as well as for those who want to help.

“Seeing that passion to help others in Eric and in the students that are putting this together is just so hopeful for the future,” said Kate Gawlik, assistant professor of clinical nursing and founder of the I Will Help You initiative.

Murray also is hopeful for the future, a future which will be on display Friday at Trism.

“[The festival] started in a classroom here at Ohio State, but it’s gonna go on a national and global scale where I believe we can take this all over the world,” he said.

LOUD: Mind and Music will begin at 4 p.m. Admission is by donation with proceeds benefiting I Will Help You.

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