All posts by Alice

I am currently a student at the University of Exeter going into the final year of my degree in English and Ancient History.

Beach Break Live 2012

So it’s nearly that time of year again, festival season. Well… maybe not quite but line-ups are being released and in this cold weather what better way to look forward to the summer than by looking at festivals. Beach Break Live is the UK’s Student Festival held in Pembrey Country Park, South Wales between 14th and 18th June 2012. More details can be found on the website www.beachbreaklive.com  but here is an overview of Beach Break Live 2012…

Music

First off, the main reason people go to a festival, the music. 2012’s headline acts are Chase and Status, Dizzee Rascal and Friendly Fires. Other artists include Nero, Maverick Sabre, Labrinth, Ben Howard, Wretch32, Delilah and Ghost Poet to name but a few. Having seen Dizzee Rascal at a festival in the past, I can safely say that he will not disappoint and is brilliant live. With their growing success in 2011 and 2012 the other artists will provide a varied and entertaining line-up.

Setting

Beach Break Live is, as indicated in the name, set on an 8 mile stretch of beautiful sandy beaches ready to party on and situated just in front of 500 acres of woodland behind the dunes. In 2012 Lonely Planet has voted the region where Pembrey Country Park is set as ‘Best Region in the World’. In terms of getting there Beach Break have made it very easy, they provide national express coaches from many universities which you can book when you book your ticket. Alternatively there is also a shuttle bus which operates from the nearest train station to the festival so if you prefer you can just get the train there.

Activities

Like most other festivals Beach Break offers lots of alternative activities other than just music. There is a Roller Disco, Zumba classes, learn to beatbox, Burlesque dancing and workshops, extreme games and even inter-mural university extreme sports. From March you can sign up teams to play football, beach volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, touch rugby and beach cricket if you can muster the energy!

So, what better way to begin the summer than chilling out on a beach, listening to some big acts, whilst having fun with thousands of other students. Beach Break only costs £109 plus booking fee for the whole weekend and camping, great value for a festival. Most universities also have reps who can offer ‘mates rates’. At the University of Exeter RAG are selling tickets for a lower price directly. Even if festivals aren’t really your thing Beach Break has lots of other things to offer, including a hot tub which overlooks the incredible coastal views. What more of an incentive could you really want…

Whats On: An Exeter Theatre Preview

Exeter students are luckier than most in that they do not have to stray too far to find good theatre. The Exeter Northcott Theatre is in fact situated on the main Streatham Campus and offers a variety of student tickets for both external productions and those produced by students themselves. So here is an overview of the best student productions at the Northcott theatre in the coming months.

First up, Exeter Footlights Society presents Thoroughly Modern Millie. A show set in 1922 New York which follows Millie Dillmount, small town girl in the Big Apple and traces her pursuit to marry a man for money. Footlights is the oldest musical theatre society at Exeter University and after their hugely successful Chorus Line last year, Thoroughly Modern Millie looks to be a very entertaining show. It runs from Wednesday 25th January- Saturday 28th January and tickets can be purchased from the Northcott Box Office or around campus.

The next student production to grace the Northcott’s stage will be Brecht’s ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui”. Exeter University Theatre Company’s (EUTCO’s) annual Northcott production, this year takes the form of a reimagining of Hitler’s Nazi Regime, set in Chicago, Illinois. The talented cast will mirror the true events of European history as Arturo, a small time crime boss, takes his opportunity and seizes control of the city, rising with a violent regime.  EUTCO will be performing at the theatre between Wednesday 29th February and Saturday 3rd March.

Finally, this term the university’s Gilbert and Sullivan Society will be putting on their second performance of the year; Patience. This English operetta follows Patience, a dairy maid on her quest to find true love but as ever, this is not without its complications. If you have never been to see a Gilbert and Sullivan performance then this is definitely worth checking out for some alternative entertainment with a talented all-singing, all-dancing cast. Patience will be on at the Northcott Theatre between Tuesday 6th March and Saturday 10th March.

So, if you’re bored of what Exeter’s nightclubs have to offer then why not give one of these shows a try and support your fellow students. With subsidised student tickets these shows are really good value for the quality of performance and it’s a great way of having a different night’s entertainment. Tickets are available from the Northcott’s website: http://www.exeternorthcott.co.uk/

Exeter Safer Sex Ball

The time of year has come again, the leaves are falling from the trees, permanent drizzle surrounds us and SSB fever has once again hit Exeter. So, the Safer Sex Ball is probably Exeter University’s biggest legend. In case you don’t know what it is or what all the fuss is about here are the basics:

-          8th December 2011

-          4,000 students ALL dressed in as little as possible (and I mean AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE)

-          One HUGE venue- Westpoint Arena

-          Performances from some big names (still to be announced) and the University’s Dance and Pole Dancing societies.

In my first year by the end of Freshers’ week we all knew what the SSB was and were determined to go. The queuing began OUTSIDE in freezing cold November at 2am, and we only just got tickets, people arriving at 2.30am missed out (after queuing for 7 hours)! That is how popular the Safer Sex Ball is, luckily they changed the system and as of last year you now purchase tickets online through the university website. The ball might be a little pricy (£40 a ticket this year with £1.50 booking fee) but from my experiences of the last two years it is definitely worth the money. In Exeter there aren’t many opportunities to go to balls, and especially not in your underwear so even if you go just for this reason, it will be worth it.

The SSB has been voted in FHM’s Top 100 things to do before you die.  I can assure you there is no other student event like it. Although it is a brilliant time to meet members of the opposite sex (if you know what I mean), there is also a really great cause behind it. Not only does the SSB raise awareness of HIV but proceeds go to the Eddystone Trust, a Devon-based HIV charity. You will be involved in an event which helps to raise £40,000 for charity, an incredible amount! Proceeds from the Safer Sex Ball will also go to Headway Devon, Refuge, Clic Sargent and World Child Cancer.

So the finer details… Tickets go on sale Thursday 10th November at 9am. Although if you miss out ask around as quite often people have tickets to sell nearer the time if they can’t go. The theme this year is Fantasia, the world of magic, myth and fairytale. Think Midsummer Night’s Dream, Little Red Riding Hood, or even the Three Little Pigs if you’re so inclined!

More up to date details about the event and the link to the ticket selling site can be found on the Facebook group here:  http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=256042091108671

Three Alternative nights out in Exeter

If you’ve ever been to Exeter University or heard much about it then you’ll know Exeter is not the most alternative city in the country… at all. However, if you’re getting bored of the standard cheesy Arena Tuesdays then here are some different options.

Cavern, located on Queen Street holds a popular Indie Club night on a Saturday night which is great if standard club music isn’t your favourite genre! They also have gigs there and various other events which you can check out on their website here: http://exetercavern.com/

Mama Stones, set up by Joss Stone’s mum, (interesting fact of the day) offers a multitude of live music events. Thursday or “Turn it up Thursdays” is a particularly good night. They also have 2-4-1 cocktails which are always helpful when you’re on a tight student budget. It is a more chilled evening out if you don’t fancy a club and would prefer an interesting mix of music.

Itchy Feet events are held at universities throughout the country and the next one to hit Exeter is on Sunday 30th October. It’s a great excuse to put on your dancing shoes and get down with some classic Swing, Soul, Funk, Rhythm & Blues and Rock n Roll- basically some great old tunes. This time Itchy Feet will be held in Arena and kicks off at 9pm. Details can be found on the Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=279794672043666

Exeter Freshers’ Week

Night’s out:

EXPECT TO QUEUE. The queues in Exeter during Freshers’ Week are ridiculous, expect to turn up to a club at 8 and still be queuing for an hour… BUT on the positive side queues are a good way to meet fellow fresher’s and bond with flatmates.

Arena: Although it’s open every night of Freshers’ week, the best nights at Arena will probably be Monday Madness (with School Disco fancy dress), Cheesy Tuesday (great night all year long) and Thursday when there is a Fuzzy Logic Fresher’s Party – with DJ Mark Allan.

Timepiece: Wednesday at Timepiece is sports night so all the big sports clubs will be there having heavy nights with all their new members . Friday is also a good night at Timepiece, a bit more chilled out but still tonnes of students and the dance floors are open upstairs.

Mosaic: Monday Nights at Mosaic are popular throughout the year with Fresher’s and it’s likely to be one of the biggest nights of Freshers’ week.

Saturday Lemmy: The Lemon Grove is the club on campus which has just been refurbished over the summer. On the Saturday at the end of Freshers’ Week a big night is held there which can get very busy and is a great night out, always made better by the fact it’s only a short stumble home if you’re living on campus.

Sports Clubs: Taster Sessions are held every day of Freshers’ week, they tend to be free (unless you have to travel somewhere) and are a good way to meet people and make new friends. Try a new sport before having to sign up properly at the Freshers’ Fair or just go along for a bit of fun. If you don’t want to join one of the main sports clubs eg. Football, Netball, Hockey etc. there are lots of more unusual alternatives. The Student’s Guild website has a full list of societies http://www.exeterguild.org/

Societies: Other societies hold taster sessions, picnics, barbeques and other activities quite often involving free food.  There are dozens of societies which are subject/ faith/ interest related and definitely something for everyone. If you don’t manage to attend any taster sessions it’s not the end of the world, you can still sign up at Freshers’ Fair

Freshers’ Ball: On 12/10/2011 The Freshers’ Ball is once again being held in the Great Hall, HURRAH, now that building works are approaching completion upon campus. Most Freshers tend to go; they haven’t announced the line up yet but should do in the next week. Tickets are £30.

Eight Great West Country Treats

Exeter is a great city in which to be a student, however, it also attracts huge crowds over the summer as tourists flock to Devon for family holidays. I’d say there are few other universities where you have so many great accessible activities on your doorstep.

1) Go for a cream tea at Tea on the Green

Tea on the Green is a traditional cafe which overlooks the beautiful Cathedral offering amazing Devon cream teas. It’s a great place to take parents- show them how civilised your student life is, or to bond with new friends in Fresher’s Week. It provides a stunning view of the Cathedral and has a great atmosphere that transports you away from student life.

2) Go to Exmouth

Exmouth is the closest beach to the University of Exeter; it takes approximately 40mins by train or 20mins by car. It’s a huge beach and is a favourite destination for students in summer after exams are over for a traditional seaside haunt. Great for a beach bbq or game of volleyball, and although it can be a little chillier in winter it’s a lovely place to escape to for a walk along the beach.

3) Head South to Blackpool Sands

Blackpool Sands is a popular beach close to Dartmouth in South Devon, it takes a little longer to get there from Exeter, probably about 1hour 10mins but you will be rewarded when you do by a beautiful cove and fine shingle beach.

4) Explore Dartmoor

Dartmoor is an enormous national park which is brilliant to visit for the day. Although there are some buses which go up there it is fairly remote so the easiest way to go is by car. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the outskirts from Exeter and some particular highlights include: Chagford- a wonderful twee unspoilt village which has a couple of traditional pubs, Castle Drogo- a “modern” castle set upon the top of a hill with fantastic views and Widecombe in-the Moor which is, as it says, right in the middle of the moorland in a beautiful location.

5) Go for an afternoon beverage at Double Locks

If you walk along the river from the quay for about a mile and a half you come to Double Locks, a pub situated by the river. It has a huge beer garden and is a lovely place to spend a lazy afternoon. They also do a big event on bonfire night which is reportedly worth checking out.

6) Go shopping down by the Quay

Along the Quayside are a row of little shops, selling a variety of things from bicycles to beautiful furniture. This assortment of shops is great for pretty and unique gifts.

7) Go for lunch/ dinner at the Waterfront

The Waterfront is a restaurant situated by the Quayside, they do enormous pizzas and great food. You can sit outside on large benches and although a little further away, it makes a pleasant change from the restaurants in the city centre.

8) Spend a day exploring campus

Exeter University’s Streatham Campus spans 350 acres and has a whole range of beautiful outdoor spaces. The gardens of Reed Hall are particularly nice to spend a sunny afternoon as are the fields and wood behind Lafrowda Halls which provide a pleasant setting for a break from studying.

Written by Alice, University of Exeter

Top 5 Fresher’s Week Myths: TRUE OR FALSE

There are so many myths floating around telling students what Fresher’s Week will be like that it’s about time some of them were cleared up….

1)      Everyone will be single and sleeping around: FALSE

Going into Fresher’s Week one of my biggest concerns was that I had a boyfriend; I was sure no-one else would and I would be left alone on nights out whilst they all went off with guys they had found. The reality could not have been more different. Out of 10 people on my corridor all 10 of us had boyfriends or girlfriends. Those I met who were single were not out meeting new guys every night but much more interested in making friends and having a laugh. That’s not to say no-one does it, I’m sure many people do, in fact one girl in my halls was known for the year as “4 guys 5 nights” as a result of her Fresher’s Weeks antics. However, that’s not the sort of nickname most people want for three years of university. If you do have a boyfriend/ girlfriend Fresher’s Week is fine, there are many others like you, and if you don’t it’s not a big deal either.

2)      I have to be completely wasted every night: FALSE

A lot of people don’t feel very comfortable getting really drunk around people they have only just met, don’t want to make the wrong impression or are worried about who will look after them if something goes wrong. Some people will go out wasted every night of Fresher’s Week but the hectic routine of eat, get ready, go out insanely early to queue make it difficult to drink a lot before going out anyway.

3)      The people I meet on the first day will be my best friends for life: FALSE

Although you may be lucky and immediately click with the first people you meet in Fresher’s Week, remaining friends for life, this is probably not going to be the case. Someone may be your new BFF on the first night but don’t limit yourself and assume it will last, by the second week of uni you may never speak again.

4)      Fresher’s week will decide my friends/ uni experience for the whole year: FALSE

Go out and meet as many people as you can. Fresher’s Week is an amazing opportunity to meet loads of new people and probably the only time in your uni life when you can blab on about who you are, where you’re from and what you’re studying to complete strangers without seeming like a complete weirdo. Even if you don’t enjoy Fresher’s week, or don’t get on with the people you’ve met, you have a whole year to change that experience. My Fresher’s experience was defined much more by the year that followed than Fresher’s Week itself.

5)      Fresher’s week will be truly unforgettable: TRUE

Whether you love Fresher’s Week or hate it, you’re sure to remember it, for life. Or the next few years at least. Even if you don’t have an amazing week it can be seen as a learning curve in University life. It’s a great opportunity to meet tonnes of new people, try something new and party as much as you can before the essays begin.