BTS @ THE PIT // A Journalistic Perspective by Gabriella Audi

Live music. Waffle cones. Dancing. (Lots of dancing).

And, of course, FREEDOM.

Breaking the Shackles’ kickoff event at The Pit on Saturday, August 18, was an incredible way to begin the 2018-2019 academic school year. Despite scattered thunderstorms and sudden downpours, UGA students were still able to enjoy food, friends and music while learning more about the cause behind the event.

Breaking the Shackles (BTS) is an organization based at the University of Georgia that seeks to “raise awareness, collect funds and mobilize students to actively fight modern-day slavery in order to glorify God and share His love with all people.”

The purpose of this kickoff event was to both welcome past attendees of BTS events as well as to introduce new students to BTS and its mission to fight modern day slavery.

“I hope the attendees of our event came away from our event knowing that we should celebrate and appreciate our freedom, while also recognizing that many people in the world today do not have that luxury,” said Andrew Smith, co-president of BTS for the 2018-2019 academic school year.

Born out of an annual benefit concert, BTS typically structures its events around music but has recently expanded its outreach to events such as Illumination Night and the Changemakers Conference.

At The Pit this past Saturday, attendees enjoyed the music of Emma Bacon, Chris Prudent, Elijah Johnston, RuHaa Music and headliner Jacob Mallow. All artists are Athens musicians.

Chris Page, a college sophomore at the University of Georgia who attended the kickoff event, said that he most enjoyed “getting to hang out and hear from talented musicians.” To him, BTS at The Pit was “a relaxing and sociable escape from the hustle and bustle of college routine.”

Breaking the Shackles will soon start their annual Coffee Crawl, a series of live music events at different coffee shops around Athens over the course of a few weeks. Attendees will have another opportunity to enjoy local entertainment while learning about modern day slavery and how BTS is actively fighting the issue.

To keep up with BTS happenings, including their upcoming Coffee Crawl, you can follow them on Instagram @breaking_the_shackles or visit their website at