As the spring semester comes to an end, students wrapped up a stressful academic year and let loose at the annual Lavernapalooza concert with headliner T-Pain and pop artist Charlotte Sands on Wednesday night at the Fox Theater in Pomona.
The 11th installment of the event, a collaboration between Associated Students of La Verne and Campus Activities Board, returned after a two-year postponement due to the pandemic.
The return of the spring concert was announced on Instagram through the account @lavernapalooza in early April and saw students flooding the comment section with excitement and positive reactions.
Throughout the weeks leading up to the big event, the dedicated page posted event information including ways to get tickets, free shuttle service to get to the venue, and a countdown to the date to keep the student body reminded and informed.
The concert is free for undergraduate students but the general public can attend the music event by purchasing a ticket online.
Ryana Bueno, vice president of marketing for ASULV and junior business administration major, runs the event’s social media page along with the marketing chair for CAB, junior communications major Edith Gomez.
Bueno said the partnership between the two student organizations was a great help when putting together such a big event.
“Since it was T-Pain who is such a big artist, we had to have a strict marketing plan,” Bueno said. “Edith and I separate the tasks and take turns with social media posts because some days we would post a lot so working together made it easier to handle everything on top of our busy schedules.”
Bueno said Lavernapalooza got canceled because of the pandemic start during her freshman year and it felt nice to see the excitement building around it after years of not having the event.
“I’m hoping people will be able to get the Lavernapalooza fill that they weren’t able to in the past couple years and that it was worth the wait,” Bueno said.
For students who needed a ride to Fox Theater, a free shuttle bus was available outside of Miller Hall on main campus to take the students to downtown Pomona where the concert venue was located.
DJ Gavin Boss warmed the audience up with a set featuring remixes of crowd favorites like Pitbull’s “Hotel Room Service” and Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” to kick off the music-filled night.
The first live music act Charlotte Sands entered the stage to an adrenaline pumping drum intro by her supporting drummer and got the crowd even more hyped up.
Hair flipping and head nodding on stage, the pop singer showed her vocal strength and performed upbeat tracks like “Bad Day” and “Lost” for an enthusiastic audience who were jumping along.
At one point, the singer took a moment to appreciate the keen crowd who turned on their flashlights and created a sea of twinkling lights to sway back and forth to the beat of her slower-paced songs.
The singer initiated a sing-along with the audience by teaching them lyrics to her song “I love you, but” which had the crowd shouting the hard-hitting lyric “I love you but I love myself” at the top of their lungs.
T-Pain took the stage next to the loud screams and chanting of the audience who seemed to not have gotten tired after Charlotte Sands’ energetic set.
Phones were up high as the rapper performed a diverse selection of songs including his own hits like “Bartender” and “Buy U a Drank” as well as songs he famously featured on like DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” and Flo Rida’s “Apple Bottom Jeans.”
LED screens that were set up on stage had moving graphics that matched each song he performed.
The nostalgic songs transported the entire concert venue back to the early 2000s.
Entertaining the audience with not only his impressive rapping, T-Pain showed off his dancing skills by popping, locking and even moonwalking to his songs on stage to the amusement and amazement of everyone.
T-Pain also took intermissions to talk to the students in the pit who showed adoration for the rapper and connected with the entire venue by making light jokes.
Junior biology major Ashley Orozco was front and center at the concert and said it was a surreal experience.
“T-Pain had been planned for my freshman year but COVID hit and it got postponed so I’m glad it was able to happen,” Orozco said. “ The best moment of the night was when he performed ‘5 O’Clock’ since it’s one of my favorite songs of his.”
In his final stage, T-Pain cooled down with an emotional gospel song featuring a black and white montage shown on the LED screens. Though he is known for his signature auto tuned voice effects, the triple-threat performer also impressed with his soulful voice.
“Getting to be that close to T-Pain was a dream come true and singing my heart out was one of the best moments of the night as well,” junior kinesiology major Sydney Ceballos said.
Campus Activities Board Co-Chair and senior psychology major Brittnee Pham thought the event was successful in both turn out and energy.
“I was in the pit and standing from the back, I saw how excited the students were and how they were engaging with T-Pain and when I looked up at the terrace, a lot of the people were also dancing and having fun,” Pham said. “Having Lavernapalooza back this year not only was a great way to end the year after such a hard transition to in-person, but it really lets students understand that we do have a lot to offer as an event programming board.”
Pham also mentioned that Lavernapalooza is the second event of the school year where CAB and ASULV have collaborated together – the other major event being a Winter concert “Holidaze” held on campus in the Mainiero Parking Lot.
For many seniors who are graduating at the end of May, this will be their last Lavernapalooza they get to experience as a traditional undergraduate at the University.
Senior English major Emily Quinoy said a lyric from Charlotte Sands’ song that goes “Just because I leave doesn’t mean I wanna go” resonated with her and her feelings about graduating an academic year early.
“Just like the sentiments of the song, I love that I worked hard enough to do that but I am starting a new chapter in my life where my college friends will be distant from me,” Quinoy said.
Hien Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.