Tickets for this year’s much anticipated Graduation Ball went on sale on Monday of Week One. Despite controvery over the lack of a headlining artist, they were immediately in high demand, with students queuing for up to forty-five minutes to buy them.
The theme for Grad Ball 2010 is Alice in Wonderland, inspired not only by the recent Tim Burton film but also by the scope it gave the organizers to include a range of activities, such as fire-eaters, magicians, contortionists and, of course, rabbits.
The event will be held in the Great Hall, beginning at 9.30pm, although wristbands are available in college bars from 8.00pm, where students can enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne.
Instead of one main headliner, as last year with Alesha Dixon, this year’s line-up features a number of smaller acts, which have been chosen in the hope of offering a wider selection of music than in previous years.
Andy Johnston, LUSU VP (Finance, Events, Democracy and Societies), expressed his excitement at the “really different and exciting acts” that are lined up. He went on to explain that “Fenech-Soler are an amazing band who are about to get really big, and The Cuban Brothers are known worldwide for their mad parties and hosting style.”
The tickets this year are considerably cheaper than previous years, at £37.50 with a purple card and £47.50 without. Johnston confirmed that a great deal of thought went into this decision. “We wanted to make an event that was as open to as many people as possible, and by having a lower ticket price, we have made this possible,” he said
However, whilst Grad Ball has been designed to represent value for money, the decision has not been well met by all students. It has sparked controversy amongst some who feel they have been cheated. Many are of the opinion that the reduction in ticket price is at the expense of having a headlining performer, which has come as something of a dissatisfaction.
Third year student Angela Bews said that she is “disappointed that an event that is supposed to symbolise the end of three years of hard work is focusing more on theatrics and less on the music. It feels like a complete anti-climax and although I want to end my degree with a big celebration, I don’t think I’ll spend the £40 on the ticket as well as the cost of a dress.”
Some students this year feel they have been let down and don’t see the reduction in ticket price as sufficient compensation, especially as last year’s ball incorporated a funfair into its circus theme. Ashleigh Beaver, who graduated last year and attended the ball, said that despite ticket prices being higher, on arrival it was evident that the budget had been well-spent.
Current third year Kristopher Gregory felt that the students weren’t consulted enough during the organizational process and should have been allowed more input. “A lot of people haven’t heard of any of the acts,” he said. “This is a moment people want to remember for the rest of their lives and quality, known artists would contribute greatly to a special day.”
Although there is animosity amongst some students, not everyone sees the ball in this way. There are still several things planned to make the event special that have yet to be revealed, and the ethos behind the ball is that it is an opportunity to get together with friends to celebrate the end of three years’ hard work, a fact that Lonsdale student Katie Jamieson reiterates. “I know I’m not paying for a gig, I’m paying for a ball. I’m much more excited about spending time with everyone in the same place for what is likely to be the last time,” she said.
In the same way, third-year Daniel Owens acknowledges that he has had good nights out in clubs that play music he doesn’t necessarily enjoy. On discovering the line-up, he researched the various acts using YouTube and Spotify. “I listened to what each act had to offer and actually liked it; everything seems to complement each other. I was very happy by the way the organizers have tried to cover all the bases,” he commented.