Review: Freshers Christmas Ball, Union Southampton

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As the year ends, the inevitable Christmas parties are in full swing, and Union Southampton is no exception. On Friday 9th December, students converged on the student union with promise of Gogglebox stars, the DJ Philip George and everything in between.

Guests who had received VIP tickets watched as the final touches were put to the decorations. We were handed a glass of champagne and the Christmas music started. Greeting the guests in the foyer were live Christmas trees, giving guests quite the shock as they walked past them.

After the inevitable trip to the food van before going in, guests were greeted with a glass of Prosecco and a fully decked out student union. At the centre of the foyer stands the huge Christmas tree. In the Bridge, Santa was ready in his grotto to offer some wisdom to the guests and to listen to their hearts desires for Christmas (some nice January exams most probably top of their list).

The entertainment soon kicked off with live music in the Cube, with all the classic Christmas songs and some newer ones for everyone to sing along to their hearts content. The lead singer certainly showed character as he lead the mass karaoke session. By the diner, the photo booth was popular with a wide variety of fancy dress items available to spice up the photo. If the live music wasn’t to your fancy, the silent disco was popular and soon everyone was enjoying music in some form.

The diner was quickly busy as guests swarmed to the bar to have their drinks poured by Stephen and Chris, stars of the popular reality show Gogglebox. They happily interacted with the guests and took selfies with everyone. There was lots of chat and laughter and they provided great entertainment.

Philip George started his set in the Cube and this proved to be incredibly popular. He engaged a lot with the audience and the choice of music was well thought through and received rave reviews from the guests as the set came to a close.

The issue with the organisation of the event was that the two major entertainment events were scheduled at the same time. This lead to some confusion and an onrush of people trying to jet between the two. This lead to me being unable to get a full flavor of the entertainment available, as the security tried to control the onslaught of people trying to enter the event. In particular there was a mass crowd stuck between the set of double doors, and there was no real instruction as to how to separate from the crowd trying to go in the opposite direction. One guest became quite distressed by the crowd, and it became difficult to get through the crowd to get out. This did put a bit of a downer on the event, as I left soon after as it did not feel particularly enjoyable or safe afterwards.

However, what I saw of the entertainment was enjoyable and by all accounts the guests thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas ball, the decorations around the Union really added to the festivities and surely now the countdown till the big day has begun.

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