The BUZZ

Symonds Christmas ball cancelled

Posted on: 09/12/2009

Students are not bothered or are resigned now to the fact that this year’s Peter Symonds Christmas Ball has been cancelled.

However, it also puts the college year book’s future in jeopardy. Read what they have to say. 

Sandra Showell, head of college public relations, told The Buzz: “The first ball was in 1987. I only started running balls to raise money for the yearbook because it was easier than getting advertising. We’ve since done them twice a year for the past 22 years. We make about a pound from every ticket to support the yearbook – but for some reason this year, the tickets haven’t sold.

“Some students say it’s expensive, but the prices haven’t changed over the past few years. Previous balls have had anywhere between 800 and 1500 people. I have to sell £10,000 worth of tickets (550 tickets at £18) just to break even.

“We don’t know what will happen to the yearbook this year; we’re going to try and finish it and get the Principal to bail it out. It costs £25,000 and we only have £5,000 in the bank. If we sell at cost the real cost of the book would be around £40-50. So we will aim to finish this year’s book – but it may be the last because there will be no more money and I can’t charge £50 a book.”

She explained that none of the student parties this year have succeeded – even the Freshers’ Ball, which was only £7 a ticket, was cancelled.

“So maybe there is a general lethargy, maybe people don’t want to go to events anymore, maybe it isn’t just the price.

“On Monday we’d only sold 170 tickets, so I, Liz Crouch (Head of Student Welfare) and the student union representatives (Jacques Sheehan the Student Union President, James Borrett from 7radio, and Victoria Whelan the Entertainments Officer) had a meeting to discuss it and realised we sadly couldn’t go ahead with the Christmas Ball this year.”

The Buzz asked students what they thought about the decision.

 Ella Moseley, an upper sixth student, said she was planning to go.

“I didn’t go last year, this is my last year to experience it. Now I am 18 I was looking forward to being able to buy the odd drink as a bonus.

 “Yes I am disappointed as I was looking forward to having a night out with friends. College is so stressful at the moment I was looking forward to celebrating the end of term.”

She thought people may not have bought tickets because they aren’t 18, and the distance or cost to get to Southampton.

Sebastian Robarts, an upper sixth student, said he was not planning to go and nor were his friends.

 “It’s too far away, expensive, I’m not 18 and my friends aren’t going. I would prefer to have a party with friends.”

Anthony Rancans, upper sixth student, said he did not buy a ticket: “As the event didn’t appeal to me.”

James Longhurst, upper sixth student, commented that people did not buy tickets: “As the costs outweighed the benefits and as I want to be able to drink.”

Joe said: “I probably was going to go, but, although I am in A2, I am still 17 so can’t drink and the price is so high.”
Callum added: “I wasn’t going to go anyway, the price was too high, it wouldn’t be that good.”
Tom agreed: “I went last year but I still can’t drink, I mean it’s all right, but not worth it.”

David said “the price was too high.”

An AS student, Harry Vowles, said that he “hadn’t planned on going anyway”. His friend Simon mentioned that the “Freshers Party was (insert synonym for faeces), therefore the Winter Ball would also be…” no doubt the same. This view was heartily supported by the rest of his group, and the conversation quickly turned to phallus shaped chicken and other such important topical discussions, showing just how much the ball means to some people.

Mia, Sara, Chloe and Timira were ‘not too bothered by it.’ Nearly all of them had not bought a ticket because they felt it was far too expensive for what it was anyway. Others said that it was expensive enough to start, and you had to add drinks when you arrived.

Asked whether people should bother organising these things, the quartet responded that many people feel that it is a ‘rip-off’ and they would rather go to other, less expensive events.

 Mike Randall said: “I was going to go, it’s frustrating that they keep cancelling college events. Maybe if they advertised better, more people would know about things and want to go along.”

Steph Reeder said: “I live quite a way from college and would have had an hour’s drive to Southampton and back after a full day at college.”

Paul Taylor commented: “Well, me and most of my friends are too young to drink. Let’s face it, that’s not the best start to a night. I just didn’t think it was worth it.”

Guys seemed mainly concerned about the lack of booze, while the girls explained that:
“the challenge of dressing, straightening hair and attempting-to-put-makeup-on in the car” was just too much effort on a Friday night.

Boas said: “The problem with events like this is reputation. People tended to quote stuff like ‘I wasn’t going anyway’ and ‘It sounds boring’, with a general air of ‘I couldn’t give a **** about this, really’.

“My own view is that the majority of people here don’t necessarily think of things like this. If it was a party organised outside college with live bands, most of us would go on the basis that it sounded like fun. The word ‘Ball’ conjures images of some overtly-priced hall shrouded in low-lighting with rubbish music and all the appeal of a Victorian sex-joke. The majority assume it won’t run with the interests of the majority, which is why the majority generally don’t bother thinking about it.”

What are your views about the college ball? What would you like to see happen next year? Add your comments below.

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2 Responses to "Symonds Christmas ball cancelled"

I completely agree that advertise is really poor, most events i hear about come from my friend who is on the student union. also timings are also poor, friday night after college is not a good time for a big event and as most people have responded, they would rather go to a small events with their friends. If it were organised to take place in half term or other holidays then the turn out should be higher

I left PSC 3 years ago, and the winter and summer balls would both sell out, sometimes within a couple of days of tickets going on sale – people would tout spare tickets outside for profit. They didn’t really have to be advertised – people would be waiting for the announcement. They were a massive part of the social calendar, and some of my fondest memories from my time at Symonds are from the Balls.

I think it’s pretty sad how apathetic this comes across, and also, I hate to say it, how dependent the interviewees seem to be on alcohol to have fun, even if legally you shouldn’t be drinking in the first place.

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