With the first home game coming up (Welcome to Dooley Field!), I thought this was an appropriate time to address a topic someone requested a week or so ago, namely, how to build a better tailgate music experience.
Now, to each his own on musical tastes, so I’m not gonna spend time here giving you specific advice about which songs work and which don’t (although don’t let me stop some of you from doing that in the comments), but rather, I’ll share some general advice about making your tuneage work for you. (Those of you who still tailgate on North Campus can disregard the rest of this post, sadly.)
First of all, as a multi-year tailgate veteran in charge of bringing the noise, I can tell you that it all starts with the delivery system. Don’t kid yourself — making the greatest mix tape/playlist in the history of Georgia football means little if your group can’t hear it. If you’re surrounded by other tailgaters, odds are that’s going to be an issue.
It’s taken some trial and error, but for me, as I’ve posted before, this baby is flat out the bomb.
It’s also $899, so I get it if you don’t get it. In any event, find something everyone can hear and that has enough battery power to last several hours. There’s nothing worse than a boombox that dies halfway through your Cocktail Party tailgate.
Next, regardless of how you source your material, make sure you can present it in a way that involves a minimal amount of fiddling. You don’t want to be a slave to the music, constantly having to pick out songs, instead of… well, tailgating. I’m old school, relatively speaking, so I’ve still got my trusty 160GB iPod Classic as my music source. I’ve got several gameday playlists organized on it in time segments I can mix and match, depending on the length of a given tailgate. (I’ve also got a 90-minute playlist for the drive up and another for the drive back, but that’s for another day.)
If you’ve go the Bluetooth route through your phone to supply songs, there are options like Spotify that should work. (Again, those of you who do it that way, share your tips in the comments.)
As for what goes into a successful mix, consider your audience. By that, I mean your tailgating group. (And if I may digress for a moment, there is nothing ruder than that person who brings a ginormous PA system capable of blanketing an entire parking lot with ear-splitting music and proceeds to prove it; for some reason, that person also tends to have shit for musical taste. Don’t be that person, please.)
I’m lucky in that I’ve been tailgating with the same bunch for decades now. I know what my folks like, so I build my lists in their direction. There are also songs that, for better or worse, are associated by us with certain times and events we recollect. It’s not so much that I’m trying to create a party on the dance floor as much as contribute to a mood; after all, we’re there getting ready to go see the Dawgs play. Our mood is generally fueled by James Brown and The Rolling Stones, with the occasional Munson clip tossed in. Your mileage will no doubt vary from that, but as long as it takes you where you want to go, your work will be done, my son.
Anyway, that’s about the sum total of my general wisdom on the subject. If you’ve got specific questions, ask away. If you’ve got your own set of suggestions, share ’em with us in the comments.