Let's Get This Band
Taylor Smith explores the hustle for a Frat Lot wristband
Illustration by Gracie Newton
If you’re looking for the unrivaled southern tailgate experience, the Fraternity Lot provides just that. In a sea of music, coolers full of cheap beer and “Mo Bamba,” the Frat Lot has all the essentials for a college gameday. At least, the mass of students vying for one of the 2,000 entry wristbands think so. Every week of a home football game, girls try their luck at getting one of the bands that are up for grabs in a Hunger Games-like fashion as guys who not in a fraternity attempt to buy a pass from a fraternity brother. With all the stress that comes from trying to get into the lot, it begs the question: What is so special about the Fraternity Lot?
“The Frat Lot was a lot more fun when it was free. Now I feel like I have to stay the whole time to get my money's worth,” junior Ally Lane said.
The new entrance policy requires females to purchase $10 wristbands off the organization’s website. One of the most criticized processes on Twitter was the night bands were sold for the USC vs. Georgia game. The “portal” opened at midnight on Monday, Sept. 3, and the site was unresponsive for customers for up to an hour.
Screenshot from Twitter about the USC vs. Georgia week ticketing process.
“When bands for the Georgia game went on sale, one of my friends had an exam the next day and instead of studying, she was just refreshing the Frat Lot page,” freshman Olivia Berry said. “It’s an unnecessary process.”
In response to the abundance of criticism, Alex Waelde, the Fraternity Lot’s administrator, said that “whenever you implicate a new policy, people who remember the old way are going to backlash.” He mentioned that “the Fraternity Lot is for the fraternities, so that’s who we’re trying to please the most.” Waelde also said that executive members of the fraternities voted and agreed upon the wristband policy.
“Everyone blames me for the change, but it’s what they wanted,” Waelde, who also runs the popular Twitter account @DrinkingTicket, said.
However, even those who didn’t get to experience the Lot in all of its no wristband glory, such as Berry, aren’t a fan of having to buy access into the popular tailgate.
“I think it’s really unfair, especially if the same people are buying the bands every time,” Berry said. “[During the sale process] everyone gets stressed out the entire time. Just to tailgate with your friends you have to go through so much.”
The main reason for the new policy was simple: safety. With a controlled capacity and increased security and police presence, it is easier for law enforcement and emergency personnel to respond to crisis. According to Waelde, there has only been one arrest and under five hospitalizations this season. Lane had a different opinion.
“I don’t think the extra police make people feel safer – there are still so many stories about people being drugged, it’s still overcrowded, and for anyone underage I think it’s another element of stress for them if they were to get in trouble,” Lane said.
Even though unsatisfactory feedback pretty much rules conversations regarding the Fraternity Lot, students still give credit to what the tailgate has to offer once you’re inside. “It makes gamedays better because you’re having fun with your friends, meeting new people and there are tents for shade,” Berry said.
And with all the additional revenue the Fraternity Lot is gaining from selling wristbands, Waelde promises for more exciting things to come for the future of the tailgate.
For the recent USC vs. Texas A&M game, Fraternity Lot attendants were excited about having Rich the Kid perform in the lot – only to have him cancel the day of. Thankfully, there are promises the rapper will reschedule.
“We want to do cool things for the students,” Waelde said. “Right now, there are just growing pains."