Smino, a rapper and singer who hails from Chicago, was announced as Quadworks' Bearstock headliner Friday night. The lineup announcement took place after a "Paint and Sip" event in the Connell Student Center.
Hosted by student programming board Quadworks, Bearstock is a Mercer music festival that has taken place for 13 years. This year, the event will take place in Hawkins Arena on Saturday, April 2.
"It's been some time since Mercerians have had a true Bearstock, the one that all Mercer alum know and love," QuadWorks said in an email to administration introducing the headliner. "This year, our aim is to send the seniors off with an experience they'll never forget and give the underclassmen an experience they've never had."
The majority of the current Mercer population has had unusual Bearstock experiences — 2020's Bearstock was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and 2021's was held outdoors on Cruz Plaza.
Including Smino, three artists will perform at Bearstock. The local opener is Highway 49, a college-aged southern rock band from Milledgeville, Georgia, and the national opener is Austin Mahone, a singer-songwriter who gained popularity by performing pop song covers on YouTube.
Smino's career was fostered within the midwest, as he moved from St. Louis to Chicago after leaving college. He has toured with artists such as neo-soul singer SZA and rapper J. Cole.
Bearstock artists are chosen by the Mercer Live committee within QuadWorks, which plans "live" events such as concerts, outdoor movie screenings and Mercer's Got Talent.
"It's a very complicated and long process," a member of the Mercer Live committee Kayla Chambers said. "There's a lot of different things that go into this."
The event this year is sponsored in part by the Lofts at Mercer, which is financing Highway 49's performance.
The Mercer Live committee faces a unique challenge this year, as none of its members have been to Bearstock before.
"We are just trying to live up to the name of Bearstock as much as possible," Chambers said. "It is a very daunting task, but we are trying our very best. We have the best support."
Mary Helene Hall ‘23 is a journalism and women’s and gender studies student who has worked for The Cluster throughout her time at Mercer. She spent the summer and fall semester of 2021 as a reporting intern at AL.com, Alabama's #1 media site, covering a variety of topics including politics, crime and culture.