How Did our Graduation Ball Compare to Others Across the Country?


As photos emerge of a night well spent for Soton Graduates, now seems the perfect time to ask: how did our Grad Ball compare to others across the country?

Graduation Balls have evolved out of the need to celebrate the success of a degree’s worth of work, in the company of friends. They’ve developed into events which seek to gain the biggest acts in a competitive splurge of money and persuasion as University Students’ Unions tussle for the best acts.

This year’s Grad Ball, organised by our Students’ Union’s  Sabbatical team, took place at Southampton’s Oceana. It included acts such as the comedians Shappi Korsandi, Charlie Baker, music from Pixie Lott, and finally a set from the radio 1 DJ Annie Mac. The Sabbs also organised a funfair – including dodgems!

Entry to the evening’s events cost £49. For more details look here.

Here’s the full line up of the Grad Ball 2012:

But how could our ball be improved for next year? And how does Southampton Uni’s ball do things differently to other Universities’ student run events?

Here’s a selection of what other Unis had to offer:

UCL (University College London) Summer Ball
Early bird tickets at £35, otherwise £40. Plus £10 for VIP drinks – includes two glasses of champagne outside the venue before the night properly begins.
The website promises the ‘whisk you away for a magical night of cabaret in the mystical world of Paris’s Montmartre, the home of the world famous Moulin Rouge, in a transformed UCL Quad for one night only.’
Acts: Edith Bowman (Radio1), Jakey B, The Electrolites (cover band), Nick Woods, UCLU Jazz Soc. There’s also a fairground and sideshows, Walkabout Entertainers, Multiple bars, and Food Stalls.

Kent University Summer Ball
£47 and £53 for guests.
Acts: Noah and the Whale, Annie Mac (only added after Sub Focus dropped out. Apparently found in a rush),The Saturdays, Thatdrummerthatdj and more. 2 stages, funfair. 

Leeds Summer Graduate Ball
Early Bird £27, otherwise £32.
At the Leeds Student Union.
Acts: Katy B, Labrinth, Greg James, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Alt-J, Angel, Ryan Jarman (DJ Set), Mistajam, Fixers, and lesser known acts.
Attractions: Outdoor stage, casino, Headphone disco, fire breathers, Stilt walkers, fairground stalls, Dodgems, Big wheel, Carousel, Photo Booth, Candyfloss stall, Popcorn stall.

Warwick Grad Ball
£68 but includes a three course meal.
It’s a Masquerade Ball, held in the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham.
They invite guests to ‘conceal your identity, lose your inhibitions and let your imagination run wild as Ventian Courtesans host a medley of jugglers, stilt-walkers and crystal-ball readers in live cabaret that’s sure to excite and engage. First-class musicians will lead you in stately dance before cementing lifelong relationships in the Venetian wedding chapel.’

Nottingham University
Cost: £68 with a 3 course dinner, but £38 for just the evening’s entertainment.
At Colwick Hall Hotel – a Georgian country house mansion.
Acts: Amelia Lily (X-Factor), Huw Stephens, Tom Wardle, DJ Em, Andy Hoe and others. ‘Our theme is the Roaring Twenties; the years of flapper dancers, speak easies, the Charleston, feathered headbands, straw boaters and gangsters. With F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic 1925 novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ being released… the 1920s has never been more popular! Entertainment will range from casino tables to Charleston Dance workshops, live swing bands to real gangsters joining in your Grad Ball fun.’ It also has a red carpet entrance, paparazzi, and a firework display.

Nottingham Trent University Grad Ball
Main Event Only: £38. Main event +after party (not involving the main acts and starting at 0330): £43
At The Capital FM Arena, ‘transformed into an incredible glittering arena with state of the art production and lighting, game stalls, casino tables, chocolate fountains.’
Acts: Ms Dynamite, The Maccabees, Labrinth, Sub Focus DJ set, and others.

Manchester University
The evening includes a champagne reception, and a 3-course meal.
Held at the Palace Hotel, Manchester.
£53 for meal ticket, plus £20 for after dinner entertainment.

This selection highlights the choices to be made in the planning of a Grad Ball. Decisions are to be made on where money should be spent. These core issues appear most important to any Graduation Ball: The venue, the acts and peripheral entertainment, food, and overall cost.

So what do you think? And what’s your favourite Ball from those listed here?

Leave us a comment to let us know, as well as telling us what YOU want at next year’s Graduation Ball. After all, now’s the perfect time to start planning!


Discussion9 Comments

  1. avatar

    I think Leeds is the only one that has us beat in terms of acts. The fireworks from NU would have been a great end to the evening. SUSU did a great job this year! Great sign off!

  2. avatar

    Leeds did incredible, otherwise I think we did very well. It was a brilliant night for all, as far as I could tell.

    Also, is that ellipsis in the middle of the article meant to be there? Or has this been pre-emptively published?

  3. avatar

    For information – the Leeds Grad Ball is held within the LUU Union building, and is also for all Universities within Leeds, not just LUU, so the potential number of tickets sold to final years was huge, given LUU has over 32000 students (we have 22000), and Leeds Met.

    Put it all together – their budget for performers would have been incredible! What if we did a joint Grad Ball with Solent?…

  4. avatar
    Michael Gallagher

    Leeds sounds sick! But otherwise I think SUSU and the Saabs did a great job with this one. But I think they may have made a mistake advertising the pricing BEFORE the main acts as a lot of people were turned off by the price tag early on.

    Despite everyone complaining about the venue, as a Social Sec. and one of the organisers of the Humanities and Social Sciences Xmas ball we realised that there are really only two venue choices in Soton for a ball with such numbers… Guildhall and Oceana. And the guildhall has AWFUL bars (Freshers Ball 2009, anyone?). So Oceane was a smart choice and a great night was had by almost everyone who shelled out the £49 quid.

    • avatar

      Hi There, did you forget your neighbours?

      Bournemouth Unievsrity Summer Ball £29. Feeder, Jackwob Live, Netsky, Dot Rotten, Toddla T, Dog is Dead + more. 4 stages, free fun fair, festival food not included. 6750 tickets sold (the UK’s largest).

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