The first annual Chili Hoopla was held on Saturday, May 21, luring over 300 students down to the Southern Oregon University Raider Stadium with a six-band lineup and lots of delicious chili.
The Events Planning Involvement Committee of the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University and the Black Student Union hosted the event.
“We wanted to do something epic,” said Jacob Horvat, EPIC organizer. “We’d tossed around the idea of a music festival all year, and Oneil [BSU member] came to us and said the BSU was planning a chili cookoff, so we decided to join forces.”
“We wanted to give a free concert to SOU students and the community,” said Martin Kerns, ASSOU Director of Student Activities and Leadership.
The headliner for the show was Keegan Smith and the Fam, a Portland-based group that describes itself as “Funk, Soul, Reggae, Pop, And Everything In Between.”
The band has racked up some impressive credits, being voted Best Live Performance three years in a row by the Portland Music Awards and described as “a captivating surprise from the Pacific Northwest” and “the find of the festival” by Jim Abbott, music critic for the Orlando Sentinel, during their performance at the 2010 Florida Music Festival.
The group has attracted some incredible talent as well, even snagging drummer Tyrone Hendrix, Jimi’s cousin, and appearing as guest artists with other big names in the music scene.
Besides The Fam, several other local groups performed as well, each with their own distinctive style, running the gambit from hard rock to reggae funk.
The Media Collective also made an appearance, providing six large canvasses for a community art project. The plan is to display the finished works around campus.
“We’ve learned a lot,” said Horvat, commenting on the Hoopla. “I mean, we’re all rookies. Every one of us on the committee have learned a whole lot, and we want to make it bigger and better next year. Keep your fingers crossed.”