Lily Belle Poling

Each Wednesday, Old Campus buzzes with first years asking the eternal question, “Are you going to Woads tonight?” 

Woads, the Yale-exclusive Wednesday night dance party at Toad’s Place, is a quintessential part of the Yale experience, and excited first years in particular seem to flock to the establishment. Matthew Letourneau ’27 describes Woads as “a place of magic, wonder, pure ecstasy and delight.” Personally, I find Woads to be just the reprieve I need in the middle of a week bogged down with papers, psets, scheduled lunches and readings. A hump day high, if you will. 

“I think it’s a great environment, and it’s really great for other first years to meet each other, get to know each other,” said one of my best friends, Devin Thomas ’27. I agree with Devin that Woads is “a good time to have fun in the middle of the week and get that push we need to get to Friday.”

However, many things must be considered when deciding whether to Woads or not to Woads. How tired am I? Have I finished my p-set that’s due at 11:59? Do I have the necessary remaining social battery to make it through the pregame and the party? Has the Yague got me down tonight? And, perhaps most importantly, will Woads be fun tonight?

“Last week was not very good … because there was nobody there. … That’s not the Woads experience that we’re looking for,” said Aidan Moran ’27 after a disappointing night.  

Unfortunately, it is exceedingly difficult to determine how fun Woads is going to be without just going and seeing for yourself. One night at Woads may be the best Wednesday night of your life, and the next may be a boring waste of time. Of course, each person interprets the vibes of Woads differently. I had a great time at Woads the night Moran referenced. Woads is truly what you make it. 

Regardless, Woads consistently fosters a great sense of community, especially amongst first years new to campus. Luke Loucheim ’27 appreciates being “with the school community in a Toad environment.” 

Indeed, spending time with other Yale students at Toad’s on a Wednesday night transcends the usual obstacles that come with meeting new people. Something about singing and dancing to 2010s pop anthems amidst the flurry of colorful lights connects people in a unique, special way. Upon multiple occasions, I have found myself in the middle of the crowd smiling in appreciation of the wonderful community I have found here at Yale. 

“Woads is always going to be a cultural experience for Yale students, whether you’re new or whether you’ve already been through the wringer. Going to Woads is not just a rite of passage, it’s a dream. I love Woads, I love Yale,” says Letourneau. I couldn’t agree more. 

Beyond Woads, Toad’s Place hosts other events that deserve recognition. Judah Millen ’24 believes that “Toad’s Place deserves more credit as a music venue.”

“The biggest misconception about Toad’s Place is that they only have Woads, Foads, Soads and other dance parties,” Millen said. 

Millen has seen Peach Pit, Houndmouth, Earthgang and Infamous Stringdusters at Toad’s during his time at Yale. Toad’s has previously hosted the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Snoop Dogg, Macklemore and Iggy Azalea, according to their website. 

Next week, I have tickets to see Declan McKenna, singer of hit song “Brazil,” at Toad’s. As much as I enjoy Woads, I am so excited to experience Toad’s Place with my friends in another capacity.

Lily Belle Poling covers climate and the environment. Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, she is a first year in Branford College majoring in Global Affairs and English.