Bumping into Deal or No Deal boxes and seeing Goldilocks arm in arm with the bears, have I ambled into some sort of parallel universe? There is only one place you would find yourself in this kind of situation, Bournemouth’s most anticipated event of the year: The Summer ball.
With 769 tickets remaining, the Summer ball is fast approaching with the question on everyone’s minds ‘Is it worth it?’ Well, reflecting on the previous summer ball experience it seems the event does live up to its hype. Not just from my opinion, but most of the regular goers if not all are more than satisfied with the evening’s outcome!
Summer ball 2009, I was there, as you would have guessed. I felt that buzz looking out into the crowds seeing the most comical and unusual costumes you could ever imagine. Staring down at my own costume, I thought I had the idea focusing on comfort. A group of my friends and I went dressed up as painters and decorators, white overalls with paint splashed all over us- which is where the fun started! Waiting in the queue to get on the buses to get to the venue was very entertaining, speaking to a few Gladiators, Rastafarians and Firemen inquiring where their inspiration came from. I was eager to see what the arrangement of this field I’d been hearing so much about would look like. We arrived and the first thing I saw was a sign to ‘nowhere’, which pretty much summed up the random night that followed. The highlight for me was running around in the rain seeing the weirdest and wonderful costumes whizzing past me. It was amusing to see little heads poking through massive foam crayons, nuns and classic characters like little miss sunshine and super Mario (with his little brother Luigi). Evidently the students of Bournemouth University have overactive imaginations and had saved the last of their loans for maximum effort on the costume front. After all, who says three meals a day are absolutely necessary.
“In each of the tents there was slight shortage of bars to cater to the amount of people there” Ben Mackintosh, a 20 year old student who worked the night as bar staff in the ‘We are your friends’ tent. Mackintosh himself didn’t dress up, as his ideas for a costume may have proved somewhat uncomfortable to work in! When describing the night, he does class it as one of the longest shifts he has ever done. However, he also appreciated being in that kind of atmosphere: “It was crazy the costumes I saw, things that I would never have thought of. There were even some rude ones, some current ones which I liked- Stavros Flatly was a funny character”. After his shift, Mackintosh joined in the dampened, but lively festivities and he sticks to his word that it was one of the best nights he has ever been to. His favourite performer had to be Chase and Status, “They absolutely killed it! The crowd went mental, that was my highlight”. Other highlights for Ben were when he saw an octopus and carton of milk try and fit in the empty space in front of the bar, which nearly turned into one odd brawl. Ben jokes that he must have burnt off millions of calories with the running around he did, whilst working and playing in the mud. “It was one hectic gig, I think that has got to be the hardest I’ve ever worked doing my job. It isn’t always easy especially when you run out of something and the angry matches spark!”
Performers in the past have always been of quite a high standard. In 2008 the line-up consisted of Jaguar Skills, Pendulum, Scouting for Girls and Subways. The following year, I had the pleasure of seeing Chase & Status- who did get the crowd going I have to admit. But my personal favourite, Ms Dynamite took us back to the old school garage days and represented what she was famed for. Rumours of Chipmunk and Plan B are lingering, though nothing has been confirmed yet, the official line-up will be confirmed at a later date.
Aside from the performers that stole my undivided attention, Isabella Chappell had a different love. “The bumper cars!” she exclaims, as I approach her for a quick chat in Dylan’s bar. Grilling her on last year’s summer ball, it is clear that her first purchase of next term (when she isn’t broke) will be that ticket. Izzy, as she likes to be called, describes her fondest but most embarrassing moment from the day. It was a rainy day, consequently a muddy field, clumsy Izzy loses her mobile phone in the mud. “I was running around looking for it in the puddles. And then suddenly someone came up behind me, in the shape of my best mate and pushes me straight into the puddle”. As you can imagine the state of her when she picked herself up, hoping nobody had noticed. Other than this the night had sailed past for Izzy, as she reminisced being on the rides “for free” she added. Although, the prices of the hotdog and chips at the food stands made it up, she joked. All joking aside, Izzy believes that summer ball is the best event the student union have ever organised and that it definitely does live up to the hype! “When I first came here, I remember people telling me about the summer ball, it sounded good and I had already decided I would go. And I’m glad I did!”
The one thing that Izzy missed out on was the one thing that everybody does talk about…The survivor’s photo. Self-explanatory, though it is all about pace! 5am in the morning on Bournemouth Pier a photograph of those who have braved the whole night. It’s a challenge every year, where the number increases with more students making it to the end loud and proud!
My advice- get your tickets and get them now! It is a great night that has even been compared to festivals like Bestival. The spirits are always high no matter the weather. And don’t think that this night is only for students, I met a good couple of ex students, who are now JP Morgan employees that absolutely loved it. Get your tickets from the Student Union shop or purchase them online at a £1.50 charge. £32 and worth every penny! So, Bournemouth’s biggest ball. Are you in?