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Party in the Car Park: the summer ball review

The summer ball of 2013, this time under the does-what-it-says-on-the-tin guise of ‘Party In The Car Park’, did not fail to deliver energetic performances, fairground rides, professional photographers, packed-out marquees, queues and controversy.

What with the ball lasting from 6pm to 2am, we were happy to see that the event organisers had provided for those hardy folks present from the beginning to the sweet end by selling not just ice-cream but burgers, chips and Caribbean food. The queue for the delectable burger-esque cuisine was at times 15 metres long.

There were many fairground rides available to the bustling masses. One was a structure which spun around very fast combined with sudden vertical shaking, the ride Batman themed, with a haunting blue Jack Nicholson visible near the queue. The Freak Out was possibly the most terrifying ride, however that didn’t detract from its popularity, the line lasting at least an hour and a half towards the end of the evening. There were many happy if green faces departing the rides, so we must conclude that they were fun.

The Freak Out, photograph by Chad Greggor

The photography that the organisers made an effort to publicise was indeed present, with professional photographers taking group portraits in the main tent, SOAP representatives taking photos anywhere and everywhere as usual and photographers present as people arrived on the slightly lacklustre red carpet in between flaming torches reminiscent of award ceremonies.

The first few acts in the live stage, Aztek (previously known as Defunk’d, the winners of this year’s Keynestock) and The Friday Club, did not see large crowds but entertained those lucky few who had arrived early. The audience for Aztek was very energetic, recognising the bands lively beat, talented lead singer and beautiful saxophone skills which had won them Keynestock.

Aztec, Photograph by Hetty Sieling

Once it had hit about 11pm, the tents were buzzing with people.

Backstage was full of artists, crews and friends for much of the evening. There were musicians who had departed the stage hours earlier, such as the beatboxing champion diva and lover of blue sequined trousers, Grace Savage. Many of The Trinity Band hung out and danced to Labrinth’s set, having already finished packing their things.

Understandably, a lot of people were keen to see Chase & Status, but quite a few disappointed voices were heard complaining that it was not so much ‘Chase & Status’ as ‘Chase or Status’, because only one DJ was present. Whichever of the two it was failed to impress a few students, with complaints of their set lacking verve.

There were dissenting voices about Labrinth too. However, those who know and love his music were really enjoying his set, which was fantastically energetic and funny at the barriers.

Labrinth, Photograph by Hetty Sieling

The moment when Labrinth, using the power of the phrase ‘Labrinth, come in’ for dramatic effect, launched himself off the stage into the mass of screaming people who parted like the Red Sea and foiled his sudden stage diving attempt, was the highlight of the evening for InQuire. Labrinth knows how to play a crowd, and when he said ‘that’s it’ and walked off stage halfway through Earthquake before asking the crowd to say ‘come in’ loudly enough for his appetite, the girls leaning on the barrier reached a new level of crazy.

All in all, the night itself was special, and we will all remember that night for one strange reason or another, whether it’s the Caribbean goat dish, the romance in the dodgems queue or the groundbreaking Labrinth.

Look out for more galleries of the event on the InQuire Media Facebook page and online here:

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