"We've had a lot of conversations about game day in Chapel Hill," said Rick Steinbacher, UNC's senior associate athletic director who is in charge of game day relations. "Tailgating has grown so much in recent years. There are so many people who want to make the most of game day, so we want to try new things and enhance game day in Chapel Hill."
The Kenan Stadium Amphitheatre and Park is located on the newly created grass area in front of the Kenan Football Center on the west end of the stadium.
On Saturday, the area, which is open to the public and free of charge for entry, will feature food trucks starting at noon, a performance by country recording artist and former Tar Heel linebacker Chase Rice at 1:30 p.m., and the Marching Tar Heels will proceed through the Amphitheatre and into the stadium at 2:40 p.m.
The events are intended to complement, rather than replace, the existing Tar Heel Town area in nearby Polk Place.
Steinbacher said the park isn't targeted to a particular group of fans, but noted that there are 3,000 or so ticket holders who ride the Tar Heel Express buses to each game who could benefit.
"It's harder of them to have a tailgating option so this is one way we can encourage them to come earlier and give them a fun, family friendly event right there at the stadium," he said.
The Amphitheatre isn't yet a permanent fixture, but it will be utilized for three games this season - Saturday versus East Carolina, Sept. 29 versus Idaho, and Oct. 6 versus Virginia Tech.
"We'll see how it goes, how much fans enjoy it and take part, and revaluate it moving forward," Steinbacher said.