Often regarded as the Big Ten’s wildest and thrilling venue, Camp Randall Stadium never disappoints. Once a Civil War training site, this massive structure is crammed in a beautiful residential area among dorms, frat houses, campus buildings and bars. The Camp is the perfect college venue with views of the state capital and Madison’s surrounding lakes (Mendota and Menona). The walk up Breese Terrace right before kickoff is one of my favorites as herds of red and white walk in the shadows of Camp Randall’s upper deck. The frat houses along this side are spilling over with college kids and extracurricular activity. As this side heats up, the band is finishing their pre-game concert at Union South on the Randall Avenue side. From here, they march proudly into the stadium under the iconic Camp Randall arch while creating a path through awestruck fans.
Once inside the stadium, the band fires up the crowd with its powerful and continuous high-stepping march. “On Wisconsin,” greatly known as one of college football’s most recognizable fight songs, fills the air with passion and pageantry. You might be lucky enough to get your own private rendition of the Badger fight song during the third quarter when the band splits up and plays to lucky listeners around the stadium.
The fans in Madison are extremely unique. In particular, the student section adds flavor like no other. They provide the most timely, witty, bawdy and salacious chants of any student section I have been around. They are always adding lyrics to popular songs and entertaining the crowd. “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “Sweet Caroline” reverberate through every slab of concrete when sung in mass unison. Catch the wave as it rolls around the stadium in slow motion, fast motion, reverse motion, and even the splits. Recently voted college football’s greatest tradition, the song, “Jump!” by House of Pain, is played between the third and fourth quarters causing the entire stadium to wildly jump, causing the upper deck and random cameras to shake. However, the most unique aspect of Camp Randall Stadium is the famous fifth quarter. Win or lose, the band comes out and plays tunes such as “Swingtown,” “Tequila,” “Time Warp”, and various other polkas while the fans dance and sing in the stands. Afterwards, the band is given a police escort down University Drive to close out game day. Follow them to spend a little time on State Street – a classic college drag, this street has it all from restaurants, bars, shops, and a stunning view of the state capitol. Enjoy a little time on the Memorial Union terrace with a beer, brat, and view of picturesque Lake Mendota. There is a reason why USA Today voted UW-Madison “the best college town in America.” On a football Saturday, it becomes one of country’s most exciting towns that celebrates one of college football’s finest stadiums.