Getting down and dirty: why we prefer Big D to the summer ball

Big D. Held within those four letters is the potential for drunken debauchery, musical mayhem, and just good old fashioned fun that made the tickets for this year’s WonDerland event sell out faster than the YUSU website could handle. My friends and I embarked on a military-style operation to snare ours, slamming laptops with frustration when the internet couldn’t keep up. After this frantic half hour, I remarked that it’d been comparable to the furore surrounding tickets for Reading and Leeds. So, what exactly is it about a small college-run event that incites such feverish excitement? Why did Big D tickets sell out in an only one afternoon, when there are nearly 200 tickets left for the Summer Ball?

Well, just like every decision a student has to make, money is a seriously motivating factor. At £20 Big D looks like a bit of a bargain, especially compared to the Ball. I think we can all appreciate how many drinks could be bought with the £28 saved by picking the former.

Nevertheless, I would fork out for the Summer Ball if I really wanted to go, reassured, as ever, by my generous overdraft. Indeed, Big D’s popularity is more complex than just cheap ‘n’ cheerful charm.
WonDerland boasts an edgier musical line-up than the YUSU event (midsized, hip Simian Mobile Disco and big, bland Lemar make a contrast fairly representative of the nights themselves), an imaginative theme and plenty of extras . What’s not to like?

Admittedly the Summer Ball also offers an exciting itinerary, but there is one aspect of this competition that YUSU can’t overcome: the underground allure of rough and ready events. This is what keeps Ziggy’s packed on a Wednesday night, and what saw desolate club nights at The Courtyard despite its gleaming newness. We’re students: we want messy fun, not well-ordered niceness. The organisers of Big D are well aware of this, as they demonstrated with their grimy promotional video and promise that the night will be ‘dark and edgy’. The professional photographers and casinos of the Ball may have seemed like a good idea, but for some may smack of school prom try-hard. Nonetheless, healthy competition isn’t to be sniffed at: why have one memorable summer party when we can have two?

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