To attend a Nashville soccer game is to attend a party.
Five hours prior to Nashville SC hosting Sporting Kansas City at its new 30,000-seat stadium, Geodis Park, I located the largest contingent of Nashville fans tailgating near the stadium to ask a curious question: what's it like going to a Nashville SC game?
I followed fans for five hours to find out.
Here's what happened:
2:02 p.m. - Music City soccer with a twist
Let the dancing begin.
As Nashville and SKC supporters alike trickled in from parking lot 5 at Fair Park, a trio from Latino-led supporters' group La Brigada de Oro summoned a crowd after whipping out a stainless steel merengue güiro and a Timbales drum set, alternating between several Latin rhythms and the supporters' popular chant, "Vamos Nashville!"
La Brigada member Harrison Veliz had a front row seat to the action, but garnered attention of his own, paying tribute to DC Comic superhero, The Flash, rocking the hero's mask, which he rebranded in Nashville colors.
"I think if The Flash was real, he'd support Nashville SC," Veliz said of his favorite superhero. "Because we're growing so fast. Everybody's like, 'who is this Nashville team and where did they come from?' Just like The Flash, nobody sees him coming. Guess what, no one's gonna see Nashville coming."
2:52 p.m. - Dads do soccer
Sunday was Juneteenth, but also Father's Day and La Brigada dedicated a surprise treat to the fathers at the tailgate: a soccer-themed Father's Day cake, but with a twist.
A 9-by-13-inch soccer field was a chocolate delight. A thick layer of green icing mixed with white stripes proved to be tasty playing surface for action figure players who wore tucked-in jerseys, high shorts and knee-high socks resembling the 1980s. Blue icing spelled out "Brigada de Oro" and "Feliz día del Padre" on the side.
4:10 p.m. - The march to Geodis Park
Some 500 fans begins to make the 500-yard trek from Fair Park to the stadium, over Browns Creek and up the concrete staircase to the stadium's north end.
Decked in their volt yellow Nashville jerseys, flag-bearers lead each platoon of around 50 fans towards the Supporters Gate.
5:17 p.m. - The Juneteenth 'tifo'
As e team took the field, a Juneteenth dedication came alive in the foreground that covered an entire seating section.
Black-led supporters' group, The Mixtape 615, unveiled a tifo, which is a large-sized banner promoting a particular image. The Mixtape created it using a multitude of construction pre-wrap sheets.
Designed by local artist Caitlin Mello, supporters held the 60-by-30-foot masterpiece for the entirety of the Black National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," performed by Indie Soul singer-songwriter Larysa Jaye.
5:34 p.m. - "We love you, Nashville!"
It's soccer time and more than 29,000 spectators were present.
Chants rang from the Backline Collective supporters: "We love you, and everywhere we'll follow, because we support you, Nashville, and that's the way we like it!"
For stories about Nashville SC or Soccer in Tennessee, contact Drake Hills at DHills@gannett.com. Follow Drake on Twitter at @LiveLifeDrake. Connect with Drake on Instagram at @drakehillssoccer and on Facebook.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Attending Nashville SC game at Geodis Park? Here's what it's like