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By Elspeth Hagen on 10.6.2023

Summer Ball 2011 a Success

The Summer Ball took place on Saturday the 4th of June this year.

The Summer Ball has long been deemed the biggest night of the year for students at The University of Kent.

A chance for students to dress up in their finest and enjoy a night of live music with the friends made throughout their time at university.

With huge controversy over the choice of Mcfly, Chase and Status dropping out last minute and rumours of only a small proportion of tickets sold, many students had doubts as to if the Summer Ball would live up to the high expectations gained from previous years.

I spent the night attempting to experience all the acts on both stages, in the crowd and backstage, on the rides and chatting to the students who attended (and generally just enjoying the night!) to give you an accurate review of 2011’s Summer Ball.

The Atmosphere

Guests were greeted with a red carpet entrance creating a formal and glamorous atmosphere and providing the perfect opportunity for classy photos in their finest.

The venue itself, being the largest tent in Europe, was nothing less than impressive, decorated with fairy lights and draped material to create a more elegant look; however the appearance of the hospitality area let the atmosphere down giving the impression of a school disco rather than a summer ball.

Although the fairground rides were the same as the previous year, this did not take away from the excitement they provided for the guests, or the energetic contribution they made to the atmosphere of the outside area.

The rides remained free, a choice clearly appreciated by guests, and this combined with the short queuing times allowed all those with the stronger stomachs the opportunity to experience the two larger rides on more than one occasion.

The same, however, cannot be said for the dodgems which seemed to have a queue for the queue and much to some students disappointment the ‘all night long’ rides shut before the event was over.

Kent Union didn’t underestimate student’s demands for beverages and had organised three well staffed bars, keeping waiting time to a minimum.

There were however complaints that the drinks offers didn’t go on for long enough and there was a lack of free water.

People also complained about the drink prices; I’ve been told it was £3 for vodka lemonade, almost double what most students who attended were used to!

Although this is deemed a sophisticated event and not a student night at a club, it is still targeted towards students who have already paid a significant amount of money on entry.

The Acts

Kent Union did an excellent job catering for everyone’s tastes- where else can you go from raving to Dubstep, to screaming out lyrics from teenage memories, to rapping along to Tinchy Stryder in one night?

The ‘Yeah!’ DJ’s and DJ Kel Sweeney successfully entertained the early arrivals with the typical Venue music we’ve all grown to love.

Keynestock Winners, De Art Of Music, were the first to provide live music and successfully readied students for the rest of the night to come.

With fantastic unique approaches to songs such as ‘Katy on a Mission’ De Art Of Music will have definitely gained some new fans.

If your one of these new fans make sure to catch them at Artsfest next weekend!

Edith Bowman drew a crowd to The YEAH! Stage with an incredibly varied set; ranging from Nero, to Mumford and Sons to the Wannadies.

Her passion for music energised the crowd and her interaction with fans after her show was clearly appreciated, evident through screams and beaming faces! It was great to see such chemistry between the act and the crowd!

The choice to catch part of Clacket Lane’s set was a decision I or many students did not regret! By placing a unique spin on songs such as Kings of Leon’s ‘Use somebody’ and The Script’s ‘For the first time’.

By providing an entertaining interaction with the crowd in-between songs, the band quickly overcame the fact they weren’t as well known as some of the other acts and gained a great response from the audience.

‘Everything Everything’ pleased fans by performing favourites such as ‘Photoshop handsome’- used as an effective way to close their set- and included a new song which kept to their distinctive style.

An half an hour delay for Mcfly allowed me the opportunity to visit Jakwob’s performance, going from an impatient, tightly packed crowd to a care free and energised selection of people with space to dance in the outlandish fashion Jakwob’s music encouraged.

The atmosphere was incredible; remixes of songs such as Ellie Goulding’s ‘Starry eyed’ pleased the Dubstep lovers of the event.

Fans of Mcfly however were rewarded for their patience as the band delivered the most energetic and crowd pleasing performance of the night, negating all the criticism received since the announcement of their attendance.

Those who claimed they would be nowhere to be seen during Mcfly’s set were caught fully intermingled in the crowd, singing along word perfect.

The choice to begin the set with a more recent upbeat song ‘Party girl’ got the crowd’s attention and readied them for the lively set ahead.

Fans were then treated to a mixture of old and new, a mash-up of ‘Obviously’ and ‘All about you’, and even a cover of Tinie Tempah’s ‘Pass out’.

The band’s interaction with the audience could only be described as banter- and students loved it.

Dougie tweeted earlier in the day of his attempt of ‘horny plans’ for the show and they did not disappoint; pulling an excitable girl from the crowd to be faced with a water gun filled with beer.

We were lucky enough to get a few words from Tom after their performance who confirmed the ‘beergun’ was indeed Dougie’s idea! He also informed us he saw a nipple… classy Kent!

Tinchy Stryder took the stage after Mcfly and although the crowd thinned, those who remained were able to hear hits such as ‘Number one’ and older songs such as ‘Stryder man’ (which admittedly only pleased a small proportion of the audience) as well as experiencing a new single ‘Spaceship’ which kept the crowd active in the earlier hours.

With Pendulum closing the night with a vibrant and energetic set, it wouldn’t be correct to say the night wound down.

Their set ensured the guests could continue the celebrations right until the night was over and not one member of the crowd seemed disappointed of Chase and Status’s absence.

The Summer Ball opened people’s eyes up to old and new music. After all isn’t that what Summer Ball is about; reflecting on the past year of university whilst eagerly awaiting the future?

Overall

Yes, the night may be an expensive one for many, but with fantastic performances and forms of entertainment I don’t know anyone who regretted going (except maybe those who drank too much and had to leave early!).

The night was a huge success with many claiming ‘it was the best night of the year’- same time next year please Kent Union!

Photography by Sophie Estepfan Jones


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