Decision to hold Grad Ball at Lancaster draws criticism – and a rival event

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The news that Grad Ball is to be held in the Great Hall this year instead of in Blackpool tower has been met with student anger, claims of disruption from the music society, and plans to set up a rival Grad Ball in Blackpool in protest.

The University of Lancaster Music society claimed that the Union’s decision to hold the event in the Great Hall caused “massive inconvenience”, though the student’s union has since offered to hire the Ashton Hall venue as a substitute facility:

“We were warned that our annual Summer Showcase on the 23rd June will probably need to be moved due to setting up for Grad Ball on the 24th. Whilst we understand their need to set up over the whole weekend, we’re disappointed they haven’t contacted us about moving the date of our biggest event of the year, which has taken place on Saturday week 9 for at least the last decade – and we emailed LUSU requesting the hall on the 11th of May last year. “

“I’m happy to be able to say that whilst we are unable to use the great hall for our annual concert, LUSU has said they’re able to fund the hiring of the Ashton hall for our concert instead, allowing us to host our concert on the 23rd as we initially planned.”

The line up for this years event includes noughties pop-rock group Scouting for Girls, who performed a free concert in Lancaster city centre for the 2017 Christmas Lights ceremony, and DJ Reggie Yates, who has recently apologised for propagating anti-Semitic stereotypes in comments made on a podcast.

Angry students took to social media to brand the line-up “washed out”. The reaction was overwhelmingly negative, with students branding the event an “absolute joke”, “ridiculous” and “a glorified school disco”.

A rival Grad Ball hosted by students is selling tickets for an event at Viva Blackpool on the 22nd of June, claiming that any profits made will be donated to Unicef. The rival ball has yet to announce headline acts, but has already sold out on the early bird tickets available online.

The Student’s Union has defended the decision to hold the end of year event in the Great Hall:

“As we are the students’ union and not the university we still have to pay to hire the Great Hall venue which costs almost the same as hiring Blackpool Tower. Had we kept the event in the tower this year we would have had to charge more for tickets and travel due to rising costs in all the things that make Grad Ball happen.”

“This year tickets are only 50p more expensive but transport cost to Blackpool has been eliminated. Grad Ball has been held in the Great Hall on many occasions most recently in 2012 so we know it can still be a magical night.”

The Grad Ball takes place on Sunday the 24th of June, in the Great Hall. Tickets cost £55, though they are up to £10 cheaper with a purple card.


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