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This year’s Graduation Ball will be taking place in Blackpool Tower on Sunday of Week 9 after the success of the event in the Tower last year. Blackpool Tower is a grade one listed building that opened in 1894 and is famous for its iconic status and reputation for hosting widely publicised events such as BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
This year’s event has almost sold out, however whilst LUSU have published quotes from last years attendees touting how the event was “Great value for money” and “the venue many it feel really special”, there has been criticism from students regarding the cost of the event. Tickets have been sold for £54.50 with a nine pound discount for Purple Card holders. The event does not include food or drink and transport is available at an additional charge.
Whilst many students will arrange their own transport to the event, the University are arranging return coach travel for £9.95 a person. The last coach will arrive at the Tower at 9pm and all coaches will leave at 12.30am. For those who have organised their own transport or accommodation in the local area at their own expense the Ball will run until 3am.
Speaking to SCAN about the ticket prices, VP (Activities) Emily Pollitt said: “The money we make from tickets is simply to cover the costs we have to put the event on from things like security, venue hire, the acts and their technical requirements as well as many other costs we face and we do try and keep ticket prices as low as possible.”
Whilst the acts this year are markedly better than last year, there has still been mild controversy about their marketing. Publicised on the website as attending the event are “the incomparable Ms Dynamite” as well as “the hottest new act in the country right now, Neon Jungle.” Blackpool Town Circus will also be making an appearance with some aerial acrobatics to bring a gymnastic twist to the event. Whilst many are happy with the acts, there have been complaints from students who feel misled by the claims on the LUSU website that Chase & Status would be performing at the venue when in fact they will only be broadcasting a DJ set.
Responding to these claims of misrepresentation, Politt told SCAN: “We did make sure that it was advertised on all the posters and on the Facebook group so people were aware of it being a DJ set and I apologise if anyone felt like they weren’t properly informed- that was never our intention.”
SCAN spoke to third year student, Arthur Haynes, about the pricing of the event, who said: “I’m glad there’s no meal – Talking as someone who experienced it last year as a date, I think the format is great. Drinks, circus – which is actually incredible – then an extended gig in a prestigious ballroom will be a great setting and event to mark our graduation. At the end of the day it’s supposed to be a celebration, which I guarantee it will be – dinner or not – and a good way to see off University… granted the price is quite high but it’s our Graduation Ball. Much rather pay the extra than have it in the Great Hall like a couple years ago! Acts are far better this year as well in my opinion.”