Flo Rida rocks the Fox Theater for annual Lavernapalooza

Flo Rida plays a set of nostalgic anthems University of La Verne students grew up listening to at the annual Lavernapalooza on May 2 at the Fox Theater in Pomona. His most popular song, “Low” featuring T-Pain, got the crowd moving. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk
Flo Rida plays a set of nostalgic anthems University of La Verne students grew up listening to at the annual Lavernapalooza on May 2 at the Fox Theater in Pomona. His most popular song, “Low” featuring T-Pain, got the crowd moving. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

Taylor Moore

As another stressful spring semester draws to a close, students went wild at the annual Lavernapalooza concert with headliner artist Flo Rida, DJ Screwloose, openers Kid Ink and Oya Baby on May 2 at the Fox Theater in Pomona.

The end of the year concert was hosted by the Associated Students of University of La Verne and the Campus Activities Board. Flo Rida was announced as the headliner via Instagram at the Lavernapalooza launch party 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 1 at Citrus Lawn, while Kid Ink was announced as the opener on April 26. 

“This is my first Lavernapalooza,” Russel Maxie, freshman accounting major, said. “(The event) gives community engagement and school spirit. I’m excited.” 

Traditional undergraduates were offered free admission, while alumni could buy a ticket for $25. Tickets were also sold to the general public for $40. 

Students had the option to ride shuttle buses from ULV to the venue and vice versa. 

A long line of enthusiastic students wrapped around the Fox Theater at 7 p.m. Many of them were wearing 2000s to 2010s fashion, such as low rise jeans, mini dresses and mini skirts. 

Isabella Arrues, freshman criminology major, accessorized her black mini dress with a belly chain waistband, which was popular in the 2000s. 

“Flo Rida (has) a lot of fond memories for me in high school, so hearing this music again is going to be super nostalgic and fun,” Arrues said. 

Once the doors opened at 7:30 p.m., guests swarmed to the pit to see DJ Screwloose, who hyped up the crowd with mixes made up of 2000s R&B, 2010s pop and 2024 rap. 

Kid Ink came out next, performing hit songs “Show Me,” “Main Chick,” “Be Real” and more.

“I’m feeling the vibes y’all,” Kid Ink said after performing “Be Real” to an audience who sang almost every lyric of the song. 

Towards the end of his set, Kid Ink took off his shirt, signed it and threw it into the crowd of screaming fans. He then jumped into the audience to crowd surf and sign students’ phone cases. 

Ysabel Zamora, sophomore biology major, came to Lavernapalooza with her roommate, friends and women’s golf teammates. 

“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Zamora said. “I’m a major fan of Kid Ink and Flo Rida.” 

The second opener, which was a surprise, was Oya Baby, performing her singles “Super Thot” and “Ride the Stick,” and with two backup dancers accompanying her. Students chanted and cheered as Oya Baby moved in rhythm with her dancers. 

The lights dimmed while DJ Screwloose played “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” by Dead or Alive. Students began jumping while singing along to the 1987 hit song, eagerly anticipating the headlining act.

Phones went up in the air as the stage lights came back on, right as Flo Rida slowly walked over to his neon blue microphone stand, his head covered by a black towel. 

“It’s a party tonight, University of La Verne in the building,” DJ Screwloose yelled. 

Flo Rida opened his set with “Right Round,” lifting the towel from his head and swinging it in circles over him, before throwing it into the crowd. Fans scrambled to catch it. In the third chorus of the song, Flo Rida tossed a handful of dollar bills into the air. Then he went up to the front row of the pit and passed a student the microphone to sing along with him. 

While performing “In the Ayer,” Flo Rida’s friends came out with squirt guns to spray the audience with water. 

After, Flo Rida disappeared backstage, only to reappear moments later with a handful of roses in his hands while the opening lyrics to “Where Them Girls At” blasted through the venue’s speakers. He passed out roses to girls in the pit before breaking into song. 

In between songs, Flo Rida instructed everyone to bring out their phones, turn on their flashlights and told everyone to yell on the count of three, “We love La Verne.” 

Flo Rida performs his iconic early 2000s club hits at the Fox Theater in Pomona for the annual Lavernapalooza on May 2. Kid Ink, a Los Angeles-born rapper who is featured in songs by Chris Brown and Usher, was the opener. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

“This is not a show,” Flo Rida said. “Lavernapalooza is a party. And what happens at Lavernapalooza, stays at Lavernapalooza.” 

Next, he performed his breakout song from 2007, “Low,” bringing girls from the audience on stage with him to perform. 

“‘Low’ is my favorite Flo Rida song,” Jennifer Reyes, senior political science and philosophy double major, said. “My parents grew up listening to it, so I’m excited to listen to it for them. And I’m so thankful that (ULV) does this kind of stuff for us. Because it’s my last year, I’m trying to take advantage of it.” 

Flo Rida could not leave the boys in the audience out, bringing them on stage for “GDFR.” First, he said he had to get a picture with the boys on stage, and had his friend come out to take a giant group photo. 

Not about to leave anyone out of the fun, Flo Rida got on his bodyguard’s shoulders and went through the crowd during his song “Good Feeling.” Then, he rushed up the stairs to the terrace to have the audience there sing along to “Wild One.”

“This is a dream come true for me, University of La Verne,” Flo Rida said. “You’ve shown me so much love.” 

The love for ULV continued after the show, with Flo Rida making a guest appearance at Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Lavernapalooza afterparty to take pictures with students and sign their fraternity flag. 

“It was absolutely unreal,” Eric Bates, junior business administration major and Sigma Alpha Epsilon member, said. “It was a full circle moment to see and meet him. As a kid, I grew up listening to his songs, he has so many great hits.” 

With finals around the corner, Lavernapalooza was the perfect way for students to unwind. Flo Rida and his openers delivered a night to remember to ULV students and everyone else at the event. 

Taylor Moore can be reached at taylor.moore@laverne.edu.

Taylor Moore is a senior broadcast journalism major and Campus Times editor-in-chief for Spring 2024. In her sixth semester on Campus Times, she has served as the LV Life editor and social media editor twice, as well as a staff writer. She’s also worked on the University’s television news broadcast Foothill Community News as an anchor and reporter, and was a on-air personality for the University’s radio station 107.9 LeoFM.

Sarah Van Buskirk is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. She is the Spring 2024 editorial director for the Campus Times and has recently served as editor-in-chief, sports editor and staff writer. She is also currently a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine, and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine.

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