More than 750 students gathered in Scott Stadium Thursday evening to partake in the fifth annual Hoos under the Lights event as part of Homecomings weekend. Virginia Homecomings brought in two live music groups — Caitlin and Savannah Lane, and the Kendall Street Company — for the event and organized free refreshments from The Pie Guy, Sweet Haus and U.Va. Dining.
This was the first year the event was hosted in the stadium — previous years' events were held in the Amphitheatre and were dubbed "Cavalier Cookout."
The change in name and venue was to both accommodate the event's rise in popularity in recent years and to make it easier to host musical groups.
“As we’re looking forward into the future, we’re trying to grow the event and make it even bigger, so we need a bigger space,” said third-year College student Elly Slugg, who worked to publicize the event. “In order to have the live entertainment, we needed a sound permit, so that played into moving the event to Scott Stadium.”
Adding musical groups was part of an effort by Virginia Homecomings to increase attendance and encourage visitors to stay longer.
“The bands gave a better reason for people to come and stay, which was what we were trying to achieve,” said event chair Madison McWithey , a second-year College student. “I think next year we will work towards Hoos Under the Lights being bigger and better and we really want to increase upperclassmen attendance.”
The new venue and name did pose a challenge for publicity — a task which rested mainly on the shoulders of Slugg and fellow third-year College student Stephanie Modica.
“Last year, [the event] was in the Amphitheatre, so it was a little easier for us to get away with not promoting it as heavily because people would walk by and see it,” Modica said. “But it’s at [Scott] Stadium this year, so we needed to make sure people knew what was going on because they need to make the effort to get there.”
Modica said hosting the event in the stadium had its own intrinsic benefits, helping to showcase the venue as more than just a place for football.
“We thought it [was] a fun way to get people inside the stadium who normally either don’t go there for football games, or only go there for games,” Modica said. “It [was] fun to be in the stadium without actually watching a game, but [instead] watching a concert from the two musicians and having all the other things to do.”