Southern Miss’ 15th annual Eaglepalooza, held on Saturday, Sept. 15, featured both local and big-name acts. Starting at 3 p.m., Eaglepalooza warmed up with local acts Brotha Josh and the Quickness, Lanna Wakeland Band and Paul Johnson and the About Last Nights.
These local musicians played on the Leaf River Stage after the Leaf River Fall Festival, which is a music showcase held by WUSM every Saturday in September and October.
Recent graduate of Southern Miss Joshua Holt, who is the lead vocalist and guitarist for Brotha Josh and the Quickness, said he enjoyed performing on such a large scale.
“Usually in other shows with smaller venues, I think the proximity is so close that I don’t feel comfortable talking in front of a group, but this one was more of a open environment,” Holt said.
The main stage was quiet until 6:30 p.m. when New Orleans’ own the Hot 8 Brass Band took the stage to ease the crowd into four hours of performances.
After the Hot 8 Brass Band was The Weeks, an Alabama-based indie rock band, followed by headliner Colony House, an indie rock band. Eaglepalooza 2018 was a departure from previous years, featuring six musicians as opposed to 2017’s three. The event was also brought back to Downtown Hattiesburg for the first time since 2015.
Freshmen political science major Sydney Madison said she had independently found The Weeks a few weeks before the announcement of the line-up. She felt that was her driving force to go to the event.
“I think it’s underrated. A lot of kids at school weren’t dogging on it, but they didn’t get excited about it,” Madison said.
Eaglepalooza director Jessica Barnett, a junior criminal justice and Spanish double major, was nervous yet excited for her work with Eaglepalooza to finally reach its climax. Barnett said she was hesitant to take on the role of director.
“[Directing Eaglepalooza] has taught me a lot about myself,” Barnett said. “I’ve learned to delegate a lot better, and I’ve learned to network properly. I’ve never had to deal with so many emails at one time.”
This is the first time Barnett has directed Eaglepalooza as well as her first time attending the event. She said she had never negotiated deals with businesses or planned events prior to Eaglepalooza.
Barnett stressed the idea of catering to student voices and bringing a change to the previous format. She said the Student Government Association did Facebook surveys to gauge what the student body wanted to see.
Portions of Main Street and Front Street were blocked off to accommodate the two stages. Businesses opened their doors to the event and BluJazz Café sponsored the event, giving its second-floor lounge as a dedicated VIP section with free food and alcohol.
Freshmen English major Skyla Langley said this year was her first time attending Eaglepalooza despite growing up in Hattiesburg.
“The reason I haven’t come [before] is probably just a lack of knowledge of it,” Langley said. However, Langley also said she enjoyed the show and is excited for next year.
“I’m always down to see any live bands,” Langley said.
Photos by: Caleb McCluskey, Blair Ballou and Hannah Beaver