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Eaglepalooza draws more than 10,000 downtown

Headliner Phillip Phillips smiles at the audience during Eaglepalooza on Friday night. Jill Johnson/Printz
Headliner Phillip Phillips smiles at the audience during Eaglepalooza on Friday night. Jill Johnson/Printz
Headliner Phillip Phillips smiles at the audience during Eaglepalooza on Friday night.
Jill Johnson/Printz

Friday night, a group of students, Hattiesburg locals and people from across the state came out in droves to experience the annual Eaglepalooza concert event.  The streets of downtown were lined as concertgoers enjoyed music, food and fun during the festival. This year had one of the most impressive turnouts that the event has ever had.

“Eaglepalooza was such a great success this year,” newly appointed SGA president Ann Marie Chilcutt said. “It seemed that there was a record turnout from the community and crowd, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I was incredibly proud of the event from an SGA standpoint.  The seven directors have worked very hard all year to have a successful event, and I believe that they were all very proud of the turnout—and were rightfully so.”

Assistant Dean of Students Wynde Fitts said more than 10,000 people came out to see the show, which was double last year’s crowd of about 5,000.

Rachel Thomas, a junior at the University of Mississippi, traveled to Hattiesburg specifically to see Phillip Phillips perform live.

“It’s not very often that someone like Phillip Phillips comes somewhere so close and I could see it for free,” Thomas said. “I had more fun at Eaglepalooza than I did at Bulldog Bash this past year, I definitely think it was up there.”

Churchill started the night off with a bang, and the crowd thoroughly enjoyed the band’s sing-a-long covers of classic songs as well as songs from their latest EP, “Change.” ElleVarner gave a sassy performance and talked to the crowd openly throughout her set. One of the most heartfelt songs during her lineup was “Not Tonight,” during which she performed alongside her father.

After much hype and anticipation, Phillip Phillips took the stage, and his performance did not disappoint the massive crowd. Phillips performed songs from his latest album, and seemed to enjoy playing for the college crowd. The singer ended the night with his hit single “Home,” which earned a group sing from the audience. At the urging of the audience, Phillips returned to perform “Lollipop” by Lil Wayne, “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, and “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled, which the audience danced and sang along to.

Emily Evans, a freshman recording industry production major, worked as a stage crew member for the event. Evans said she was extremely impressed, not only with the performances booked for the event, but with the size of the crowd that turned out.

“I was not a huge Phillip Phillips fan before this event,” Evans said. “I knew a few of his songs, but was never really a hardcore fan. But after meeting him and watching his performance, I found myself becoming a huge Phillip Phillips fan.”

Evans said she thought the SGA did a great job with organizing and planning the event, and considered this year’s Eaglepalooza comparable to other area music festivals.

With all of the things that happened the past weekend downtown, such as Hubfest and the kickoff of Live @ 5, Eaglepalooza only added to the fun factor.

Sophomore drawing and painting major Kelly Joe Brumfield, who was in attendance at the event, thought it was a huge success, especially with the other downtown events such as Hubfest and Live @ 5.

“For me, it was a really great part of all of the awesome things in downtown Hattiesburg last weekend,” Brumfield said.

After the huge turnout Friday, Chilcutt said she’s excited for next year.

“I think the event was fun and successful, and we are looking forward to next year’s event now,” Chilcutt said.

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Eaglepalooza draws more than 10,000 downtown