The end of the spring semester is an exciting time at the University of Mississippi: flowers are blooming and finals are imminent. The people of Oxford all prepare for the annual Double Decker Arts Festival, an event that attracts more than 60,000 people per year. However, this year is a bit distinctive from years past; its musical booking is catered more toward the student-aged population of the LOU Community.
Double Decker Arts Festival has been around for as long as I can remember, but for as long as I have been a student here, the lineup hasn’t been anything to write home about.
Jason Isbell, who headlined Double Decker 2019, was incredibly entertaining and talented. However, he is a favorite artist of dads everywhere, and I was only vaguely familiar with his music. This time last year, I often heard students saying “Who is this band?” or “I don’t know any of the songs.” But the lineup this year is far more relevant to the interests of the student population of Oxford. Double Decker is moving in the right direction for the student population and the community as a whole.
The Double Decker schedule that was released a few weeks ago features headlining artists Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors, Rainbow Kitten Surprise and St. Paul & the Broken Bones. All are groups that are primarily listened to by younger ears. The buzz surrounding this year’s lineup, from my perspective, is far louder than years past.
Double Decker is bigger than a simple community event, and its significance lies beyond the copious numbers of people who experience it any given year. It has the potential to be a massive respite from the stress that students feel at the end of the school year.
Each year, Double Decker either falls on the weekend immediately before UM finals or the weekend before dead week. All students understand the burden of this time, and the toll that this season’s coursework takes has proven detrimental for many. Double Decker offers relief from that weight felt by young people. However small, that relief means something.
The significance of this is not lost on me, nor should it be on you. The work of those who booked these artists must certainly have recognized the need for a youthful focus and direction for the musical talent, which will provide relief for those who would need it the most.
The LOU Community doesn’t come together in the magnitude of Double Decker often, and students of the university are critical pieces of our community.
So, to those in charge of Double Decker, keep it up in the coming years. Continue to book more relevant artists. To the city of Oxford, never stop showing the students of this great university that you support us and are willing to go the extra mile for us. This Double Decker will be a lively, youthful environment that will alleviate an exceptional amount of students’ stress and elevate their excitement for our city and school.
Stroud Tolleson is a sophomore public policy leadership major from Madison, Mississippi.