After announcing its plan earlier this semester to bring Eaglepalooza back to Hattiesburg and The University of Southern Mississippi, USM’s Student Government Association recently revealed American rapper B.o.B will headline this year’s event.
Recently appointed director of Eaglepalooza 2017 Ty Trehern said that selecting the artist was one of the biggest challenges his team faced this year.
“We knew that we wanted to make this year’s Eaglepalooza the biggest one yet because the Hattiesburg community and the Southern Miss student body [deserve] it,” Trehern said. “When we were presented with the option of hosting an artist like B.o.B, we wanted to do everything in our power to make it happen. After all, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to leave Southern Miss better than we found it. Because of the generosity of all parties involved, whether that was from donations, outside support, or working directly with the team, we believe we were able to do just that.”
Trehern’s announcement was met by thunderous applause at SGA’s “Bring It On: Eagle Style” homecoming event.
Many USM students consider themselves B.o.B fans and are amused by the artist’s insistence that the earth is flat.
“I’m very elated to hear that B.o.B will be performing this year,” Charles Brown, a senior political science and international studies major, said. “I’m a huge fan of his music, but not his flat earth theories.”
Brown said it is ironic that B.o.B is coming to a college campus when he holds such outlandish beliefs.
“He doesn’t believe that the earth is round, or that the moon landing happened,” Brown said. “He’s currently mostly known for pretty unintelligent things.”
A student in the audience yelled “flat-earther” after Trehern’s announcement. A Facebook event titled “Bring Globes to Eaglepalooza to Prove to B.o.B the Earth is Round” sprang up just hours later. By Monday, Oct. 24, it had nearly 90 people attending and 175 people interested.
“Don’t let this event fall flat like B.o.B’s perception of the earth,” Drew Reagan, the organizer of the event, said.
Senior English major Madison Etheridge is one of many students who plan to bring a globe to Eaglepalooza.
“I’m super excited to see B.o.B at Eaglepalooza,” Etheridge said. “Not only because I dig his music and know so many of his songs, but also because flat- earthers are almost extinct and I’d like to see one in person.”
Eaglepalooza, an annual free concert for USM students and the greater Hattiesburg community, has drawn thousands of people to Hattiesburg every year since 2004. Headliners in the past have included a multitude of artists spanning every genre imaginable.
Some of the more notable past headliners include Echosmith, Local Natives, Keri Hilson, Girl Talk, Dashboard Confessional, Phillip Phillips and Melanie Fiona.
The SGA, which sponsors and organizes the event, canceled it last year amid budget concerns.
“It has a lot to do with the budget,” SGA president Cameron Cloud said in a March 2017 Student Printz article. “We have a budget we get presented at the beginning of the year and it predicts what we get for the year. The cut was so large that we didn’t have the $45,000 to run Eaglepalooza.”
According to a letter posted by the SGA last month, the association will be able to host the concert after all thanks to “the generosity of so many alumni, faculty, staff, community members and true Golden Eagles.”
“I am thrilled for the return of Eaglepalooza,” Cloud said in a statement. “This could not have happened without the great support of students, President Rodney D. Bennett, the USM Foundation, our alumni and the dedicated members of the Southern Miss and Hattiesburg communities. It was a team effort, and I am humbled to be a part of it.”
The 14th annual Eaglepalooza will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 27 in Spirit Park on the Hattiesburg campus.