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Thursday, December 07, 2023

Don Toliver lights up the stage at first day of school concert

Students share their excitement about the sold out show

<p>Don Toliver performs at the Stephen C. O&#x27;Connell Center in Gainesville on Wendesday, Aug. 23, 2023. </p>

Don Toliver performs at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville on Wendesday, Aug. 23, 2023.

The Stephen O’Connell Center was full of bright lights and smoke throughout the night, with students cheering and enjoying the first event of the Fall as they returned to their classes. 

UF Student Government Productions kicked off its first event of the Fall by hosting Don Toliver alongside Kaliii in a sold-out show Aug. 23 at the O'Connell Center. 

Toliver, notable for his rap songs and mixtapes like ‘After Party,’ led an interactive performance with the students in the crowd, calling to students as they cheered and lights brightened up the room. 

The O’Connell center held hundreds of students who engaged with Toliver’s interactive performances, enlivening, and having fun on the first day of school. 

SG members and students expressed their excitement for attending the near three-hour-long concert on social media. 

Olivia Metzler, an 18-year-old UF biology freshman, said she did not go to the event with any expectations as this is her first year at UF. 

Metzler said waiting in line was a bit ‘rough’ but the event was so well organized and fun for acclimating students to campus. She said the event made her feel excited about going to UF. 

“The way the lights and smoke synchronized with the performance and [Toliver] was able to get everyone so excited and involved really made the show memorable,” Metzler wrote. 

Julianna Ciccantelli, a 22-year-old UF business administration senior, said the event stuck out to her for how entertaining it was the entire three hours. She said the lighting and stage events were ‘epic’ and the atmosphere was energetic. 

“I really think that Student Government outdid themselves with this event,” Ciccantelli wrote. “Moving forward this concert has set the tone and standard of what we can hope to expect from them.” 

George Wu, a 20-year-old UF biochemistry junior, commends SG for orchestrating the event, he said. Wu noted previous SG-hosted events have not gone smoothly, which has led some students to believe it’s not the norm for an event to go well. 

Wu believes it's a great privilege to be able to attend concerts performed by artists like Don Toliver. 

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“That’s only possible because of our wide influence and SG’s hard work reaching out to the artists,” Wu wrote. “People forget that it isn’t necessarily normal for an artist like Don Toliver or Gunna to perform at your school.” 

Genesis Soto-Alfonso, a 19-year-old UF microbiology sophomore, attended the event. They said the show seemed very well produced. 

Soto-Alfonso initially didn’t anticipate an SG event to be hosted so well. 

“I think there’s an assumption that [SG] has a limited budget and can’t do something great with that,” they wrote. “I’m sure [the event] required tons of planning, so it’s impressive.” 

Contact Vivienne Serrett at Follow her on Twitter @vivienneserret.

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Vivienne Serret

Vivienne Serret is a UF journalism and criminology senior, reporting for The Alligator's university desk as the student government reporter and managing editor for The Florida Political Review. She loves debating, lifting at the gym and singing.

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