Last weekend was 2017 Freshers’ Ball, the climax of every freshers fortnight of non-stop intoxication. The event had headlining acts including Becky Hill and Marvin Humes and a variety of activities such as, a fairground ride, bouncy castle and a highly dangerous ball-pit.
Arriving on Saturday night before the crowds emerged, we got a chance to explore the venue in all its glory. Fairy lights guided our way and it was great to see the care and attention that went into the night, even though we were a little puzzled as to what the overall theme was supposed to be. Once everyone started to arrive, the atmosphere became lively, specifically helped by the fairground ride smack bang in the middle of the redbrick.
The headlining stars’ were highlights of the night for many attendees. Marvin Hume’s set list in the Cube proved extremely popular with packed out crowds forcing an extension to his show. Becky Hill was also a spectacular performer, however the venue choice of Garden Court and lack of advertisement for set times meant that the room didn’t get filled to the brim. The only real downfall for the night was the lack of general promotion both before and during when it came to the schedule. We felt a lot of freshers may have missed out on certain events due to lack of awareness.
Although Becky Hill didn’t gain the crowds that we expected, the Silent Disco maxed all expectations. Clearly there is a massive attraction to people simultaneously dancing to both Whitney Houston and Skrillex. The decor inside the marquee was sophisticated and yet had a barn dance appeal with the hay bale seating arrangements. Perfectly located next to the disco was the cocktail bar which kept everyone content for the night. The only shame is the ale bar next door did not gather much attraction, potentially ale just isn’t a suitable liquor for such an event and maybe the union should restore last years’ gin bar next time around. Overall the drink prices in the Stags, Bridge and Bar 2 were very well priced at a reasonable £3.50 double – although a £2 sobar quad would of been more appreciated.
The options of entertainment for the night were endless, from ball pits, to bouncy castles to selfie print-outs and even beer pong – word of advice, do not challenge VP Communities, Arun Aggarwal, to a game because you will get trashed. All in all it was frat party heaven and we loved it! We did feel slightly concerned as to how the ball pit would withstand the night once enough vodka was consumed, but it appeared to be going strong towards the end and no ambulances were called to the scene which is encouraging.
There is no better way to end the night than greasy carbs that you will inevitably regret in the morning. Thankfully the union accommodated to this innate student desire and provided food trucks. While the burgers and hotdogs were a life saving necessity, the donuts would probably have given you diabetes after the whole five in the pack – maybe less sugar next time.
So was the night value for money?
For £28 we would say, probably not. The make-over job on the union was fun and we loved the activities provided and the thought that went into the night. But if the majority of the cost goes on the headliner act and you don’t know when she is performing then it does mean the whole night falls short a little. Either way, we had a lot of fun and you only get freshers’ ball once…unless you go again next year, and the year after, and the year after that.