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Cruisin' and concerts make entertainment news in 2015

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALDVisitors look at classic cars parked on Lameuse Street during the Biloxi Cruisin' the Coast block party in 2014.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALDVisitors look at classic cars parked on Lameuse Street during the Biloxi Cruisin' the Coast block party in 2014. SUN HERALD

Big names and big numbers led entertainment news for South Mississippi in 2015.

Here's a look back the year's top entertainment stories:

Afroman

Rap artist Afroman, otherwise known as Joseph Edgar Foreman, made national news from his concert in Biloxi on Feb. 17 -- not for his music, but for punching a female fan on-stage midconcert. The concert, on Fat Tuesday at Kress Live in downtown Biloxi, was captured on video by other fans. Afroman was fined $330 and ordered to undergo anger-management and impulsive-behavior counseling.

Lil Boosie

Louisiana rapper Lil Boosie didn't let a diagnosis of kidney cancer stop his Thanksgiving Bash at Kress Live in Biloxi on Nov. 26. The artist, whose real name is Torrence Hatch, announced on Instagram he had the disease. In 2014, a noise-variance permit had been denied for a performance in Gulfport.

Lil Wayne

Hip-hop artist and New Orleans native Lil Wayne (Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.) finally got to bring his concert to the Coast Coliseum on Dec. 19; surgery on his arm had sidelined him and postponed his Nov. 28 concert. He was joined by Jeezy, Duffle Bag Trizzy and Sippi Boi Noy.

Cruisin' record numbers

Cruisin' The Coast 2015 broke several records during the weeklong event Oct. 4-11. Executive Director Woody Bailey said this year's Cruisin' saw 7,639 cars registered -- 346 more than in 2014 -- from 45 states plus Washington, D.C., Sweden and Canada. In addition, 1,058 cruisers have preregistered for 2016 -- another record broken for the event that begin in 1996. Bailey also said more spectators went out to see the cars in 2015.

Liza Minnelli

Liza Minnelli -- that's "Liza with a Z" -- performed at the IP Casino Resort and Spa in Biloxi on July 24. It was the consummate entertainer's first performance in more than a year, and one of only a few scheduled this year. The daughter of entertainment legends Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli gave the audience a glimpse of classic Hollywood and Broadway in Studio A.

Concerts at stadium

MGM Park might be the home of the Biloxi Shuckers, but it was also a new music venue in 2015. Dr. John and the Nite Trippers and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue were the headliners for the first concert there -- Concert for the Coast, presented by the city of Biloxi on Aug. 29, the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Free concerts at Harrah's

Kenny Rogers, Easton Corbin, Kellie Pickler, Collective Soul, REO Speedwagon and Lee Greenwood were among the acts announced to play during the year's warmer months at The Great Lawn at Harrah's Gulf Coast. Darius Rucker's 2014 performance opened The Great Lawn's 10½-acre expanse, an outdoor event venue.

'Artists Die Best'

The world premiere of "Artists Die Best in Black," a film based on the book by Martha Mabey, was Oct. 25 at the Saenger Theatre in Biloxi, complete with a red-carpet walk. The 80-minute murder mystery, filmed at Coast locations, stars Hani Furtsenberg, Kate Forsini, Malcolm McDowell and Luke Goss.

Florida Georgia Line

Florida Georgia Line brought their Anything Goes tour to the Coast Coliseum on Jan. 22. The Country Music Association's vocal duo of the year -- Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard -- is known for hits such as "This Is How We Roll" and "Cruise." Openers for the show were Thomas Rhett and Frankie Ballard.

Celtic Woman

Biloxi was included in The Celtic Woman 10th anniversary tour for North America, with the Irish women's group performing at the Coast Coliseum on May 7. Celtic Woman had also performed at the Coast Coliseum in 2011. The Biloxi performance was part of a 90-city tour.

Also of note: Coast impresario David Delk announced 2015's Sounds of the Holidays would be his last one to serve as director. Delk, who has been a part of the fundraising holiday concert since its beginning in 1988, has directed Sounds since 1998. "It's time for somebody else to take over," he said.

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