Two Friends to headline 10th annual Lights on the Lawn

The concert will be celebrating its 10th anniversary on Sept. 16 with the DJs behind the iconic “Big Bootie” mixes.


Rachael Perrotta

Two Friends in concert at Marathon Music Works, as photographed on Jan. 21, 2022. (Hustler Staff/Rachael Perrotta)

William Yuk and Jorie Fawcett

Two Friends will headline the 10th annual Lights on the Lawn (LOTL) on Sept. 16, as announced via LOTL’s Instagram on Aug. 2. After a virtual concert in 2021 and delays last year stemming from religious and contractual conflicts, the annual charity rave will finally return to Alumni Lawn for the first time in two years. 

LOTL was created in 2012 after a Vanderbilt fraternity member suffered a serious spinal cord injury. Since then, the traditionally-electronic music festival has raised over $648,000 to raise awareness for domestic abuse, making it the largest private donor to its partner, the Mary Parrish Center (MPC).

Junior Scott Burns, vice president of logistics for LOTL, explained that the MPC supports and stabilizes both women and children who have suffered from domestic abuse. 

“While most homes provide around six months of housing, MPC provides them with at least one year of housing, as well as classes and case interviews,” Burns said.

All profits from the event will be donated to MPC. Tickets are $25 each for Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff, while general admission and VIP tickets cost $35 and $100, respectively. Donations to the MPC can also be made directly to the MPC through LOTL’s GoFundMe

This year’s act traces its roots all the way back to grade school when a mutual passion for music between the “two friends” blossomed into a lifelong friendship. Eli Sones, half of the Two Friends duo, has had an affinity for the group’s signature EDM-inspired style for his entire career. On the other hand, Sones’ musical partner Matthew Halper took a more traditional musical route, picking up music theory fundamentals while learning the guitar and singing in a choir in college. 

Promotional poster for Lights on the Lawn featuring the musical group Two Friends.
Promotional poster for Lights on the Lawn featuring the musical group Two Friends. (Photo courtesy of LOTL) (Lights on the Lawn)

The group’s ascent into mainstream music was fueled by the success of their viral “Big Bootie” mixes, annual collections of hour-long mashups that creatively blend sound bytes from popular tracks from that year. The mixes have attracted millions of listens on SoundCloud and have been a fixture at frat parties, gyms and club raves across the country. Burns added that this “hype” surrounding Two Friends led to LOTL inviting them to Vanderbilt.

Two Friends’ arrival on campus this fall will be a momentous occasion for the group in more ways than one. Not only does the 10th annual LOTL concert coincide with the 10th anniversary of the release of the very first “Big Bootie” mix, but it will mark a long overdue homecoming for Sones, a member of Vanderbilt’s Class of 2015.

In a Nov. 19 interview with The Huster, Sones revealed that he used the resources available to him on campus to hone his musical craft. Specifically, he said he used the recording studios to create some of the group’s very first mixes and worked with Vanderbilt a cappella singers to provide vocals for their tracks. 

While he eventually chose to pursue a career in music as a DJ and producer, Sones takes solace in fallback options that his Vanderbilt degree provides should he decide to move on from such a competitive industry. 

“We have a valuable education, and there’s going to be other opportunities [if we fail],” Sones said. “We can still [create music] as a hobby.”

Members of the Class of 2023 are the only students at Vanderbilt who have been to LOTL. Senior Caroline Rosa said she is excited about the concert’s return and to see Two Friends in concert—although it won’t be for the first time, as she also saw the group live at her very first concert. She added that she anticipates that this year’s show will surpass her experience with the Fall 2019 LOTL, which Quinn XCII headlined.

“[LOTL] was so early in the year [in 2019] and I am personally not a Quinn [XCII] die hard,” Rosa said in a message to The Hustler.

Junior Aryana Valedon shared in Rosa’s excitement about Two Friends headlining LOTL and in the festival’s return. The upcoming concert will be her first time attending LOTL.

“I also think it’s super cool that one of them went to Vandy and will be coming back,” Valedon said in a message to The Hustler.