More than 1,100 students attended the kickoff of Eckerd College Springtopia 2022, dancing and singing along with spring concert performer Tai Verdes.
The April 9 setlist included his top hits “A-O-K,” “STUCK IN THE MIDDLE,” “Sheesh!” and a special performance of an unreleased song, “100sadsongs.” Verdes is the first national artist to perform on Eckerd’s campus since 2019.
The Palmetto Productions team, with support from the Eckerd College Organization of Students and Campus Activities, had been working to find a performer and coordinate all the concert setup since January. They landed Tai Verdes, who embraced the Eckerd culture from the moment he stepped onto campus. He and his band took a golf cart tour of the 188-acre waterfront grounds on the afternoon prior to the show, briefly chatting with and waving to students as he rode by.
The band enjoyed its tour of Eckerd so much that drummer Alex didn’t want to leave the golf cart, and they ended up spending lots of time in the greenroom getting to know student employees from Palmetto Productions.
But those students weren’t the only ones to get a personal meet and greet with Verdes before the show. Five lucky student raffle winners also had some one-on-one time with the artist—including Michael Puciul, a senior animal studies and psychology student from Point Pleasant, New Jersey.
“He was very down to earth,” recalls Michael. “I didn’t expect him to be that modern. It felt like talking to one of my friends here at Eckerd. He really had an Eckerd vibe.”
Despite having already mingled with students before the show, Verdes stayed an extra few hours after the show to get to know more eager students, taking photos and talking.
The singer made sure to film a TikTok outside of the College’s Brown Hall before calling it a wrap. Other live events, like Kappa Karnival, are poised to return to campus this spring, restoring some honored Eckerd traditions and community-building activities that top off the Eckerd experience for students.