Graduation Ball 2013


Last night’s Grad Ball at Oceana saw this year’s leavers being offered a grand send-off: a night of dodgems, divas and lots of drinking. It was a memorable bonanza and a great occasion for everyone to enjoy a momentary breather between the horror of dissertations and the awaiting doom of the working world, job searching and further study.

Three areas were open inside the Oceana complex: The Bar Quarter downstairs, the perennial favourite that is the Disco room, and the Icebar. Outside were food stands, a smokers area and a mini amusement park. Everyone I spoke to was pretty excited about the rides, with some girls even noting with surprise and delight that they were beginning to understand where their money was going. The Master Blaster and dodgems continued late, though the ‘Gravitron’ stopped working around midnight. This may have been a good thing, as one party-goer shrewdly observed: “what a great idea, mix alcohol with wild spinning.”

Another opportunity within the park was to ‘win a goldfish’ by throwing darts at cards. Not only were goldfish available for grabs, but tanks and fish food. A fair few people commented that goldfish in their little water boxes were not a great accessory for the dancefloor, and I have to say the impracticality of the prize is pretty high.

Early in the evening most people were excited to see Example and Scot Mills: both because “they’re fit, but yeah, good performers.” The general feelings towards the line up were positive, though a few snarky Amelia Lily remarks were made: “What the hell? She didn’t event make the final!”. Despite the jubilant atmosphere inside and out, some complaints did surface early on – “we thought the food would be free” (it was a bit pricey), and the lack of drinks deals was unimpressive (£3.90 for a double mixer).

The initial lack of interest in the Mexican, Donut, Burger and Chinese stalls soon gave way to queues, with nachos and burgers being the most popular snacks. The Chinese stall was largely empty throughout the night, making clear the rule that when drunk, noodles just can’t compete with anything that has cheese.

The main issue people had with the evening was the whole ‘value for money’ question. Taking into account the funfair, the acts and the venue the general consensus was it was more or less a good price, just bit expensive. The ‘SUSU fundraiser’ aspect printed on the tickets was very controversial. Someone I spoke to said: “of course we’d pay for it, it’s our last event! SUSU know this, so they bumped the price.” Sam Ling, Union President explained the use of the term:

“A number of our events are labeled as fundraisers. This is purely for tax purposes, as we are entitled as a charity to run a number of events VAT free each year. However these must be clearly identified as fundraisers. Aside from the title they are run in exactly the same way, except for having more money to invest in the event.”

The upstairs dancefloors were packed and raving. DJ Fresh and Fleur collaborated to work the crowd in the Icebar for an extra-long set thanks to the no-show of headliner Example. Shout-out to DJ Fresh for actually coming, and then staying longer than he needed to! Stavros Flatley, who were meant to be in the Disco Room, also did not make an appearance, despite the whole dancefloor being cleared and cleaned for the act. (UPDATE: Stavros WERE there – I must have missed them!)

Aside from the couple of no-show glitches and problems with prices, as a whole the night was a huge success. Everyone I spoke to who could still speak by the end of the night had a great time, and “amazing” was the term used by most people.

See below for the photo gallery, photos by Jack Hamilton.


History student with Mandarin on the side. Spent a year in China and a semester in Spain, plan to go back to China again after graduation. Opinion Editor at the Wessex Scene for two years.

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