First Ever Downtown Fight Fest

Matthew L. Self

Topeka will be hosting the first ever Fight Festival downtown on Saturday, Oct. 13. It will feature live music, a variety of food trucks and several different fights that include boxing, kickboxing and MMA. Live music will be featured throughout the day starting at 10 a.m. under the Kansas Ave. archway and ending at 5:30 p.m. just before the boxing events begin at 6 p.m.

The Fight Festival is the work of Dustin Phillips, a musician as well as a boxer, who is a Topeka-born resident that came up with the idea of mixing a music festival with boxing events.

Phillips originally hails from Topeka and is a graduate of Washburn University. Shortly after graduating from Washburn, Phillips moved to Las Vegas where he pursued his two biggest interests: professional boxing and experimenting with music. While living in Las Vegas, he became inspired by the Life is Beautiful festival, which is best known for featuring live music and works of art. The event promoted his own visions and ideas for a festival.

“I saw that events like that were becoming big and could attract quite a crowd, so I decided to try something similar,” Phillips said. “This festival will be featuring some phenomenal bands and some great fighters looking to further their professional careers as boxers and MMA fighters.”

This festival is an opportunity for local people to make a name for themselves. In addition to the entertainment from fighter and performers, there will be many local food trucks offering a variety of choices for refreshments, lunch and dinner. Alcohol will also be served at this event so participants should be sure to bring their IDs with them.

The live music will feature a varitey of genres. The list of musicians and bands that will be playing this Saturday are as follows: JD Schreiner, Pit Hag, Josh Norris, David Luther, Buddy Green and the Hydrophonics, The Real Custom 5’s, Ryan Manuel and the Solars. More information about each of these bands can be found on their Facebook pages or personal websites.

Starting at 6 p.m. there will be kickboxing, boxing and MMA matches. These fighters will be going head to head with each other in four matches that will last till 10 p.m. Those who have a weak stomach or who have little taste for boxing may not want to attend. These fights are known to be violent but nonetheless entertaining.

The schedule for the fights will be as follows: Laurence Subelka vs. Matt Foster, Robby Mendez vs. Wayman Carter, Trevor Lavin vs. Chuka Willis and Conner Shepherd vs. Daniel Olajiga.

The admission price to view the fights in the evening is $20 per person, but Washburn students, can show their IDs at the gate or enter them into an online order to get tickets for half price.

Depending largely on the success of the first Fight Festival, this event may be returning to Topeka in the future. Phillips expressed his hope that there would be a big turnout and that the people of Topeka would stop by to listen to some of the live music and share the bands with their friends. He went on further to state how he planned on doing another tour next year and adding more bands, more music and more locations to his tour.

“I hope the shows become bigger and more fights are added to our festival. I’d really like to see the number of bands double and hopefully take up more than just a few blocks next year,” said Phillips. “I’m really nervous about this event, mostly due to the weather in Kansas, but I hope that people around town like it.”

Phillips is hoping the event with resonate with students at Washburn, whether that be through the music, the food or the fights.

For more information on the scheduled events or purchasing tickets, be sure to check out the Fight Festival Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DowntownFightFestival/.