This year’s installment of the annual Lights on the Lawn concert/fundraiser included the least star-studded line-up in recent years. Even VPB seemed to recognize this fact by setting up a much smaller stage than in previous years. Yet the concert still managed to draw hundreds of crop-top clad girls and guys sporting Southern Tide and basketball jerseys.

Lights on the Lawn benefits The Mary Parrish Center, and this year the concert raised almost $40,000 which will be used to house victims of sexual and domestic violence in Nashville.

The event was set to start at 10:30, according to Facebook, yet as I approached Alumni Lawn there was a surprising absence of throbbing bass and overblown synths. That’s when it became apparent that not a single person was there other than those setting up. It wasn’t until around 11:00 that a small crowd of about 30 students began to wander in and the first act of the night–2 Friends (confirmed to be their own act and not just the headliner’s friends)–finally took the stage. Living up to their name, the EDM duo could be seen talking to and joking with students both before and after their set.

As the music started to blare and the concert took off, the crowd grew exponentially to a few hundred students. 2 Friends’ set consisted of the standard bass drops, vibrant synthesizers, classic rock and pop samples, and that “sit-down” arm motion which seems to be a staple of most EDM concerts. The real stars of the night, though, were the 40 year old husband and wife dressed in business casual attire getting down to the music in the back of the pandemic crowd.

Gryffin and Two Friends perform at Lights on the Lawn October 8, 2016.Gryffin and Two Friends perform at Lights on the Lawn October 8, 2016. About 15 minutes after 2 Friends finished their set, headliner Gryffin took the stage to start another marathon of thumping bass and remixes of throwback songs. Gryffin also only has two original songs according to Spotify, one of which–”Whole Heart”–with its soulful vocals and waves of synths, had the crowd in a frenzy.

The crowd maintained its high-energy dancing and yelling until the end, proving that the no matter how small the stage or the artist’s name, Vanderbilt knows how to throw down while helping out a cause.

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