Controversial rap concert moving to Germain Arena; Kendrick Lamar out

Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott speaks to a crowd of over 8,800 who gathered at Germain Arena to see Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Monday, Oct. 6, 2008, in Estero. David Albers/ Staff

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Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott speaks to a crowd of over 8,800 who gathered at Germain Arena to see Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Monday, Oct. 6, 2008, in Estero. David Albers/ Staff

Eaglepalooza will be smaller and go on without rapper Kendrick Lamar, but the annual concert finally has a home.

Florida Gulf Coast University officials and the school’s programming board have agreed to ditch plans to hold the concert at county-owned JetBlue Park, opting instead to sign an agreement Friday to host the event at Germain Arena for a third straight year.

The event will be held November 24, with Ludacris scheduled to perform. Lamar, who was on the bill, won’t appear after canceling his fall tour to join Kanye West’s tour. Organizers are searching for a replacement.

The decision comes one week after a dustup involving Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott, who questioned why the university would sign off on a concert involving Ludacris and Lamar. Scott has denounced the concert in public and in emails to FGCU President Wilson Bradshaw, criticizing the artists for their use of profanity and the N-word. He also questioned whether a county-owned building should host the event, saying hip-hop concerts tend to incite more violence.

“As to the content, I am relieved to know that it will not be spewed in a county park, which is typically a place that stands for community decency and family values,” Scott said in an email Friday. “As to the security, we were just contacted by Germain Arena this week and will work closely with them as we always do in order to plan and prepare.”

University officials haven’t publicly commented on Scott’s ealier remarks. In an email to Scott, Bradshaw wrote that “periodically there are expressed views related to students and faculty that the president doesn’t personally or professionally sanction or share.” He also assured Scott that safety would be “paramount” to the planning process.

FGCU spokeswoman Susan Evans said the school was in negotiations with JetBlue Park officials for a couple of months, but it never applied for a permit. She said JetBlue Park officials were “extremely supportive” of Eaglepalooza.

“I would just say that given the recent circumstances surrounding the event, and also the fact that Germain Arena was available on (Nov. 24), the students just felt this was the best approach to have Eaglepalooza this year,” Evans said.

The Germain Arena contract, signed Friday, calls for a $25,000 rental fee, with the stipulation that the arena hosts the annual FGCU Nest Fest concert in March or April 2014. If Germain Arena isn’t chosen to host next year’s Nest Fest, the rental fee jumps to $35,000.

Evans said Germain Arena is expected to host about 6,200 to 6,500 attendees, whereas organizers planned for 10,000 to 12,000 people at JetBlue Park.

“Students had wanted to go to JetBlue in order to have a big venue that would be available outdoors, but they’re very excited to return to Germain,” Evans said.

In an email to media members Wednesday, Scott said FGCU officials hadn’t contacted the Lee County Sheriff’s Office about security needs. Had a permit been sought by FGCU officials, the Sheriff’s Office would have had input during the process, with the possibility of declining to cover the event should organizers fail to comply with security mandates.

Evans said private companies will handle much of the security needs, with any additional security costs already built into the contract.

No date has been set for when tickets will go on sale.

RELATED: FGCU students say sheriff's remarks won't keep them from Eaglepalooza

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