The Student Government Association’s (SGA) annual Eaglepalooza took place Saturday evening at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Spirit Park.
The free public event featured stand-up comedian Leonard Ouzts, hip-hop artist Nate Rose and R&B artist and headliner Keri Hilson. Students, faculty and community members gathered in the thousands to watch the performances.
Eaglepalooza began in 2004 and has grown to include larger artists each consecutive year. Past notable performances include Echosmith, NeedtoBreathe and Iconapop. Some related events over the years include a local battle of the bands to win a slot as opener for the event.
This year, Eaglepalooza was hosted for the first time on campus rather than in downtown Hattiesburg. Following the afternoon Conference USA football game between Southern Miss and the University of North Carolina Charlotte 49ers, attendees made their way to Spirit Park, where SGA members set up for the event.
Grammy nominee Hilson welcomed the crowd with a shout out to her family from Mississippi and showed her gratitude to Southern Miss for inviting her to the event.
Hilson gave an interactive performance and invited members of the audience on stage for a dance competition. Hilson brought Eaglepalooza to an end with her hits “Pretty Girl Rock” and “Knock You Down.”
The event is hosted by SGA and many university and community sponsors, including Farm Bureau Insurance, Keesler Federal Credit Union, Gulf South Productions and Southern Miss Catering.
SGA president Caroline Bradley said she loved the opportunity to host the event and give back to the community.
“The directors and assistants worked all summer and throughout the semester to get an act we thought everyone would enjoy,” Bradley said. “SGA loved putting on the event because it’s a chance to give back to the student body by giving them a free opportunity for great music.”
Co-director and former SGA assistant director Nina Bellapini said bringing the event to campus attracted more students.
“I think that this event is important for Southern Miss because it showcases SGA’s ability to listen and respond to what the student body wants,” Bellapini said. “It’s a unique event to the area, and I think the student body really looks forward to this one every year. Also, having the event on campus brought in a lot more students. Overall the event went better than we could have expected.”
Attendees of Eaglepalooza gave positive reviews about the music, location and atmosphere.
editor’s note: Article edited to correct an error with the donor’s named in the article. 11/8/2016 9:47 A.M.