Even with SEC football charging on through the COVID-19 pandemic last season, Knoxville was nearly unrecognizable on Saturday’s last fall.
Tailgaters didn’t sprawl across UT’s campus or convene around the Vols as they made their weekly walk down Peyton Manning Pass to Phillip Fulmer Way. Inside Neyland Stadium, fans totaled less than 25,000 instead of the usual 100,000 plus.
When Jeremy Pruitt’s Vols took the field, the Pride of the Southland Marching Band wasn’t there to meet them by splitting into the T.
This fall, however, as the Josh Heupel era begins in Knoxville, those beloved traditions will be back as well as some new fan experience upgrades.
“As we enter the 100th season of Tennessee football at Neyland Stadium, we have some new gameday elements in store to welcome our fans back,” first year Director of Athletics Danny White said. “We’ll continue to evaluate our gameday experience, seek fan feedback and identify opportunities to enhance the way things look, sound and feel while still honoring the traditions and pageantry that make fall Saturdays on Rocky Top so unique.”
The Vol Walk and running through the T are back, as are capacity crowds and tailgating in and around college football’s ninth oldest stadium.
One tradition unaffected by COVID-19 last season is getting a facelift. The well-known fireworks that announce a Tennessee touchdown will now be shot off of the north end of the stadium as well as the west and east side press boxes. Fireworks will occur pregame as well as following Tennessee touchdowns.
One of the new amenities at Neyland Stadium this fall is a LED light show before and during games. This trend has increased in popularity over recent seasons with SEC foes Alabama, Georgia and Auburn all displaying similar light shows.
Outside the stadium, Tennessee will bolster a pair of tailgating sites in Toyota Volunteer Village and Truly’s Tailgate. Volunteer Village will hold a concert series before games this season while also housing food trucks.
Located outside gate 9, Truly’s Tailgate will open four hours before non-noon kick offs and at 9 a.m. for noon kick offs.
DJ “Sterl the Pearl” will be at Truly’s Tailgate pregame before moving to the Neyland Stadium sidelines for games.