Mark Cuban backed college festival is empowering student entrepreneurs

This fall, RECESS, the world’s only college music and ideas festival, is set to groom the next generation of world changing entrepreneurs and bring some of today’s biggest music acts and entrepreneurs to campuses across the country. RECESS is hitting 10 campuses across the country for their Fall 2015 Tour including University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and UCLA. Tomorrow, they’ll be taking over the campus at Southern Methodist University

Co-Founder Deuce Thevenow says, “Our mission is to inspire and highlight the next generation of entrepreneurs during the day and then unite the student body to celebrate their achievements at night. We were a college startup ourselves and know the struggles firsthand, so we created this to help students that were in our position only a couple of years back.”

RECESS started out as a college music festival at Indiana University back in 2010 but that all changed in 2012 when they shot famed Indiana alum and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban a blind email explaining their idea for a new type of festival asking for his advice, and he offered to invest. Now, RECESS is similar to a traveling South By Southwest, fostering an environment of innovation and celebration at campuses across the country.  

The RECESS event consists of four parts: Concert, a celebration featuring leading artists, Pitch, a business pitch competition, Playground, an interactive networking fair, and Office Hours, a progressive speaker series.

RECESS has teamed up with some of the world’s leading brands to elevate the experience for students. “L’Oréal Paris shares our mission to encourage and empower college students and as such, will be hosting moderated discussions on campus focused on careers in digital and social media and building an online presence. L’Oréal Paris will also be recruiting for a year-long Guest Editor opportunity, which students can apply for at,” says Co-Founder Jack Shannon. 

This Fall RECESS has also partnered with entertainment goliath Live Nation to partner and produce the concert segments of the festival with several dates slotted with EDM-duo Adventure Club to headline the dates. 

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino says, “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with RECESS and support young entrepreneurs and to provide top quality entertainment as an avenue for them to celebrate their accomplishments on campus during the day. Every college student should have an experience like RECESS.”

Office Hours is a speaker series focused around disruption, innovation, and inspiration. The Fall 2015 lineup features David Grutman, Head of Miami Marketing Group and Operator of mega club LIV, King Bach, the World’s biggest influencer on video social media platform, Vine, Madison Wickham, CEO & Co-Founder of Total Frat Move, Jason Robins, CEO of DraftKings, Sebastian Solano, CEO & Co-Founder of Life In Color EDM festival, Jim Pallotta, Co-Owner of the Boston Celtics, Matt Mullenweg, Co-Founder of WordPress & CEO of Automattic, and more speakers yet to be announced. CNET will be providing moderators for the speaker series. Past Study Hall speakers have included DIPLO (Grammy Nominated Artist & Producer), Bob Moczydlowsky (Head of Music, Twitter), Shaun Neff (Founder, Neff Headwear), Scott Case (Founding CTO, Priceline), Tony Conrad (Partner, True Ventures & Co-Founder/CEO,, Scott “DJ SKEE” Keeny (Radio/TV Show Host/Founder Dash Radio), and Melanie Stevenson (COO, Pencils of Promise).

Southwest Airlines® is the title partner presenting the RECESS Pitch Competition, a college ‘Shark Tank’ style competition giving students the opportunity to take their business ideas and turn them into  world changing startups. The winning team from each school advances to the RECESS Field Trip and will fly Southwest Airlines to Los Angeles, CA where they get the opportunity to pitch major investors, pick the brain of industry giants, and meet some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. Student founders from previous year’s Field Trip have gone on to raise funding in excess of $12 Million from Tim Draper, Mark Cuban, Marc Benioff and others.

Southwest Airlines will be the sponsor of the travel vertical, rewarding the winning team with round trip flights to New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles for the “Roadshow Getaway’; a fundraising tour to pitch potential investors. Pivot, the television network from Participant Media, is sponsoring a special pitch category with the winning team receiving the opportunity to pitch Participant Media executives. In addition, Participant Media will send an executive to participate in speed mentorship sessions during the RECESS Field Trip and on the judging panel with top VCs and investors at the Pitch Finals.

Softlayer is also joining as a partner for the Pitch competitions. They are granting all winners admission into the Catalyst program and will receive hosting credits of up to $10,000 a month for one year. 

To learn more about RECESS, visit their website here

Raquel Vincent

Raquel Vincent is a Dallas-based creative with a knack for words and inspired creative direction. When she's not working, you can find Raquel hitting a gallery opening, working on her book, or thrifting for unforgettable vintage finds. She loves music festivals, tacos, and her rescue cat Berlioz.