Considerably low attendance and a lack of organisation at a series of events run last week by Commercial Services saw many of the acts ‘booked’ for each night pulling out.
Reports from those present have confirmed that the highest number of attendees on any one night was a maximum of 30, and at certain times the number of attendees were as low as two.
The majority of acts advertised by Commercial Services were YUSU societies. However, many had not formally confirmed their attendance prior to the events, and were not aware that they were to be heavily relied on for the night’s entertainment.
Matthew Freckleton, Commercial Services Marketing Assistant, has verified that 8,000 printed adverts and 1,500 flyers at Freshers’ Fair were distributed prior to the events. “There’s nothing that we didn’t do that wouldn’t be done to advertise any other event,” stated Freckleton.
Nouse previously reported that Commercial Services had expected to make a loss from the events and had tried to gain the support of some colleges for wider publicity. Tahir Shetty, Vanbrugh College Chair, has said that his college pulled out of the event on the day because “Vanbrugh offered support but it was a case of poor communication – they didn’t give us the necessary materials until too late”.
Dance Soc were advertised for Tuesday’s ‘Dance Performance Night’, but did not perform due to restrictive stage space in the Roger Kirk Centre. Dance Soc never formally confirmed their attendance, and cancelled their participation a week in advance.
Dance Soc Chair, Maxine Campion, commented: “I don’t have any ill feeling towards them, it just was not confirmed. And we definitely didn’t realise it would be advertised looking like Dance Soc are hosting this night.” Freckleton has assured Nouse that Commercial Services were under the impression that all acts would be attending, and did not “put anyone down in advertising that we didn’t think would turn up.”
Jack Luckett, Chair of Indie Soc, was present at the Wednesday night event. “I would say there was about maybe a maximum of 30 there at any one time, including bar staff and tech guys and all of us who were DJ-ing. There were only some CD decks because the tech guys had some spare. They didn’t even clear the tables and chairs, there was about 15 or 20 Fringe Soc members. I’d go so far as to say that there was no one there who wasn’t involved in the event. It was deadly quiet around the Roger Kirk as well.
“Indie Soc stopped after a while and just handed it over to Fringe Soc… I don’t know what Commercial Services were thinking in organising events – it seemed like a bit of a weird place to be doing it in the first place. I think it’s just a bit of a crazy idea really.”
Last Thursday, Freckelton stated: “The events are going well, we have struggled on some nights but that is expected with any new venture, especially with something as ambitious as this one.” He added that Commerical Services “do not know about profitably currently.
“The organisation of events has gone very smoothly and college support has been great. We are especially pleased with the support given by YUSU.” However, Dan Walker, YUSU Democracy and Services Officer, has told Nouse that “YUSU allowed Commercial Services to use our sound and lighting contractors at the Union’s discounted rate. However, as the events clash with our official nightclub nights, our Viking Raid, and college events, we were unable and unwilling to be involved in the events.
“I’m afraid I didn’t make any of them. I’ve been out checking the official nights in town but I heard they’ve [Commercial Services events] mostly closed down early due to a lack of attendees. It’s a shame as the money spent on renting sound and lighting for a full week could have gone to good use elsewhere.”
Cheesy Pop Soc Chair, Jim Bulley, has told Nouse about his society’s experience with the event, describing it as “badly organised”. “The agreement that was made was not a formal one, and they didn’t tell us it was to be the same day as Viking Raid.
“We said we’d help out – we like helping out… but we never agreed to anything formally, and we never advertised it ourselves.”
Commercial Services have said that they plan to evaluate the value of the events this week, and “plan accordingly for future events if we feel they would be appropriate.” However, Walker has revealed that “it was agreed with the Union that Commercial Services would halt their event program from Week Two onwards, after a meeting in which we explained the clashing nature of their events and JCRC events.
“We’ll be meeting Commercial Services to debrief on the events and talk about their future intentions.” Walker continued: “I’d hope that Commercial Services now appreciate the level of effort and expertise the students of our JCRCs bring to the table when it comes to running and promoting events, both big and small, and how difficult it can be to create something engaging. Hopefully Commercial Services will, with their new understanding of campus events, move to offer colleges a greater level of support in their future endeavours.”