Opinion: OwlFest finally boasts lineup students want to see

Relevant artists 21 Savage and Juicy J will perform at the annual fall concert.


Students dance during 2016’s OwlFest, which featured Kesha and LunchMoney Lewis. Photo by Max Jackson

Jenna Holleran , Contributing Writer

Correction | Oct. 24 11:45 a.m. This story has been updated to reflect Courtney Wolf’s connection to Program Board. 

A large group of people simultaneously screaming their heads off usually means that something bad is happening.

Except at the announcement of the OwlFest lineup at the 11th annual bonfire last month. As soon as the crowd heard rap artists Juicy J and 21 Savage would be performing at the annual fall concert, over 3,000 students erupted into cheers.  

It seems like for once, FAU listened to who the student body wants to see. Breakthrough rapper 21 Savage dropped “Issa Album” in July 2017 and is rumored to release another studio album this October. His song, “Bank Account,” peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 List in 2017.

Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, or 21 Savage, released his first full album in 2017, and his song “Rockstar” with Post Malone won the Billboard Music Award’s Top Rap Song of 2018. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

And Juicy J has been a standout rapper since his early days in hip-hop group Three Six Mafia. His newest album “Rubba Band Business” came out in December 2017, and he’s stayed popular throughout the years primarily because of his features on other artists’ songs. These have included “23” with Mike WiLL Made It, Miley Cyrus, and Wiz Khalifa, “Dark Horse” with Katy Perry, and “She Knows” with Ne-Yo.

Jordan Michael Houston, or Juicy J, began his career by co-founding Three 6 Mafia, and would later win multiple music awards, including the 2006 Academy Award’s Best Original Song for “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp.” Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In recent years, it seems FAU Program Board, the student group that organizes on-campus events, has only been able to afford outdated artists. These have ranged from rock group We the Kings and hip-hop group Travis Porter (who both played at this year’s bonfire) to Kesha and rapper Yung Joc.

And while OwlFest 2018 won’t be free like it has been in the past, it’s more than worth the $21 entry free. (The cost is in honor of 21 Savage.)

“FAU puts a lot of money into student programming, so putting [$21] toward a big event is worth it considering how many events they put on for students for free,” Courtney Wolf said, an upperclassman who co-programmed with Program Board for the spring carnival through the Resident Student Association.

And she’s right. I hadn’t realized how many on-campus events I’ve attended, free of charge, where free food and FAU swag have been handed out. So paying for a concert with two hugely popular artists is the least we can do in return.

The $21 fee used to bother me, but I changed my mind after talking to Wolf. It takes a lot of time, money, and people to make an event like OwlFest possible, and only through charging for shows can FAU bring more popular and current artists to campus.

OwlFest will be held Thursday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. in the Student Union auditorium. Students can purchase tickets at the box office on the first floor of the union. Guest tickets cost $45.

Jenna Holleran is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].