Lizzo will headline Volapalooza 2023, bringing the biggest name in the student-led event's history (Photo: Treefort Music Fest/Creative Commons).

Lizzo, the viral pop and rap sensation behind songs like “Truth Hurts” and “About Damn Time,” will headline Volapalooza on Friday, April 21, 2023, in Thompson-Boling Arena on a stop of “Lizzo: The Special 2our.” She will be the biggest name and the first female solo artist to headline the annual end-of-year concert for UT students in its 20-year history. 

With the prestige comes a price tag. Lizzo will be the most expensive artist for an event that began as a free concert with smaller artists. Though the concert will be open to the public, a limited number of student tickets available to all current UT students for a discounted rate of $30 will go on sale soon, according to a press release from the university. 

Students can expect two emails from Thompson-Boling Arena in their inboxes soon. The first email will provide detailed instructions on how and when to purchase student tickets. The second will include a unique link to purchase discounted student tickets. These tickets will only be available through the link from the arena. 

Tickets will go on sale to the public on Nov. 18, and any student who does not secure discounted tickets may purchase general public tickets. Though ticket prices for the singer and rapper are unpredictable due to her rapid success, they currently start as low as $69 for her American stops. 

Lizzo became an international name with the release of her platinum 2019 album “Cuz I Love You,” featuring singles like “Juice,” “Tempo” and “Truth Hurts,” which instantly became staples of self-love dance pop. Her brash lyrics are famous for cutting through misogyny and body shaming with a unique brand of humor. Her most recent album "Special" was released in July. 

The fun-loving star is also a classically trained flutist, and inspired headlines and thousands of memes in September for playing James Madison’s crystal flute onstage in Washington, D.C.

Volapalooza is hosted for students in partnership with the Campus Events Board (CEB) through the Center for Student Engagement. This year’s headliner reflects critical partnerships between the arena and student leaders like Emma Nair, senior and CEB Entertainment Committee president.

“The Campus Events Board is so excited to welcome Lizzo to Rocky Top for Volapalooza 2023,” Nair said. “It’s been a dream working with the folks at Thompson-Boling Arena and Live Nation because they have been able to help us support award-winning artists coming to campus at a great price for students. A concert like this helps to further the CEB’s mission of creating community through engaging events.”

Volapalooza has grown far beyond its indie beginnings in Circle Park and Fiji Island. The concert, which began in 2003 as a way to celebrate the end of the year, quickly grew to be the largest student-produced event on campus. 

Historically, Volapalooza has brought in mostly alternative rock bands, cover bands and rap artists. As it moved around from Circle Park to Fiji Island to World’s Fair Park and now to Thompson-Boling, the event has featured groups like Passion Pit, Gym Class Heroes, Lupe Fiasco, Tyga and, most recently, Wiz Khalifa.

For many students, this Volapalooza will be only the second in their time on campus, since the event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Editor's note: A previous version of this report mistakenly stated that Lizzo will be the first female solo artist to perform at Volapalooza. The report has also been updated to better reflect the history of student payment to attend Volapalooza. 

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