The Summer Ball. It’s the final sendoff for Swansea students, where thousands gather on the Abbey Meadow for a black tie knees-up. Having attended every Summer Ball since her first year, there wasn’t a chance Elena Cresci was going to miss the Ball this year, no matter what the line-up, but how did the students of Swansea react to the acts announced earlier today?
It was always going to be difficult to top previous Summer Balls. In 2009, we had Feeder. Last year we we had Florence and the Machine. It’s easy to see why the lineup for 2011’s Summer Ball was so hotly anticipated by students across the union. At midday today, Student Swansea Events (SSE) announced the full line-up.
Headlining the event are British garage greats The Streets, and Chase and Status return to Swansea after their hugely successful night in Oceana to deliver a DJ set to the suited-up students of Swansea. Also providing a DJ set is London singer-songwriter Kate Nash, while comedy duo Frisky and Mannish, known for their parodic mashups of pop music classics will also take the stage. Rounding up the line-up are beatboxer Faith SFX and tribute group Stereotonics. The layout of the event changes somewhat this year too, with several different tents catering to varying student tastes.
For organisers, the line up is a diverse one which appeals to a wide range of students. Events assistant Simmo Simmons said: “Whatever music genre you’re interested in, there is somewhere at the Summer Ball for you to go.” For SSE, the biggest coup came in booking The Streets for the event, who are on their final tour. “Having The Streets is such a good opportunity for us if you consider they’re the biggest acts at both Reading and Leeds.” said Simmons. “We’ve managed to secure a band who are playing two of the biggest festivals in the UK, and they’re coming to our end of year ball.”
Not all students agree with SSE, with many flocking to the Summer Ball’s event page to vent their disappointment. One such student was Media Studies student Evan Hart who told The Siren there were other acts he would have liked to have seen at the event rather than those announced.
“It kind of felt lazy that they didn’t go out and get big name act, maybe that’s down to how late the line up was announced, meant they couldn’t get a bigger act. We had Florence and the Machines last year and everyone I knew was excited about it, especially going into the festival season.” When asked if he’d be attending this year’s Summer Ball, Hart told us: “I probably wont be going to it, unless they name a couple of acts that I feel is worth the £40 admission.”
First year American Studies student Phoebe Wright stated she was “really annoyed that the line up is so rubbish,” going on to say: “I can’t believe it’s almost entirely DJ sets for what’s supposed to be a ball! It seems a bit cheap to get artists who could perform – Kate Nash and Chase and Status – to just DJ instead!”
For Simmons however, “there’s not that much difference” between a DJ set and a live set. He said: “All you’re taking out is the actual acoustics of the bands. You still get the actual act there, they still have a wicked presence… essentially, Kate Nash is going to be at the Summer Ball, the fact that she’s doing a DJ set doesn’t make any difference.”
Simon Bright of SSE emphasised the difference between the Summer Ball and the music festivals which follow it in the Summer, saying: “I think it’s important that people remember that it’s a student union’s ball, it’s not a festival. We’re not able to compete with someone like Reading, Leeds or Glastonbury, it’s entirely unrealistic. Cardiff are our closest neighbours and they’re not having a Summer ball this year. So for us to be selling out 5,000 capacity ball is pretty impressive and to get four or five acts where other universities aren’t having anything is pretty impressive. Obviously some people aren’t entirely satisfied with the choice of music, and they’re entitled to their opinion, but it’s important we don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s a university Summer Ball and not a festival.”
However, not all students are kicking up a fuss about the line up; several comments left on the Summer Ball event page showed there’s still excitement brewing for the final shindig of the year, and it’s pretty clear the event is not likely to be in any danger of falling short on ticket sales.
There’s no doubt in my mind; I’ll be attending the Summer Ball. It’s likely to be my last, and I want to leave with a bang! What better way to do that than on the Abbey Meadow on the 15th of June? The one day sale for tickets is on Friday and they’re priced at £40 each.
Will you be attending the Summer Ball? What did you think of the lineup? Leave us a comment, shoot us an email, or get in touch via Facebook and Twitter… as always, we’re all ears!