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Brighton Journal | 5th April 2020

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Sussex University Block Party Tours Town Tonight

Sussex University Block Party Tours Town Tonight
Hannah Midgley

The University of Sussex Student’s Union has organised, what they are dubbing as “the biggest bar crawl in the student calendar“. Thousands of students are expected to attend the event which spans 7 of Brighton’s bars and clubs late into the evening. The event promises attendees a whole host of DJs and entertainment alongside “unbeatable drinks deals”.

The crawls starts at Yates on West St, where most students will be firmly on their feet, before events develop as the tour makes it’s way around town stopping at Boutique, Revolution, Synergy Centre, Walkabout, The Globe, Steinbeck & Shaw and Pryzm.

Wristbands are being issued to those with tickets which permit them entry to all of the above venues this evening, so if you are looking to steer clear of this years cohort of freshers then you know where to avoid. Conversely, if you are one of the plucky students determined to make it to the end of the tour, then you know where you are headed.

Many Brighton locals dread this time of year, with bartenders, security guards, and members of the emergency services preparing themselves for a long night full of drunkenness ahead. Participation in at least a modicum of drunk and disorderly behaviour is to be expected from new students, many of whom are away from home for the first time and know exactly what they want to do with their new found independence. Binge drinking culture has become somewhat of a right of passage for many undergraduates who see such events as a way of getting to know their contemporaries in an environment where inhibitions are significantly lowered. And who is to say that this is wrong? (Apart from you local GP and your trusty liver of course!)

“Students always have lots of fun on nights like these and I don’t like being the ‘bad guy’, but we have a job to do trying to control the chaos” Steve, 36, door security guard

Organisers were very deliberate in expressing that the tone of this year’s event is not in the carnage model, a UK company that organises such student events known for their depravity, and for the mess that they cause both for attendees and for those who have to clean up after and care for them.

The Sussex Students Union have organised the event in concert with local venues, emergency services, and licensing bodies to ensure the event, which is similar to events that have been running for the last 10 years or so, runs both smoothly and safely. The Synergy Centre will act both as a venue on the tour, and as well as a dedicated help point where students in attendance can seek first aid and advice.

“We’ve worked with the Council and police on this event and others for more than 10 years to run safe, fun and considerate events for our students to help them get to know the city. We want students to have fun and to be safe and well looked after. For the Block Party we’ve got a welfare point and our friendly staff will looking out for students who need assistance. We have our own alcohol policy which prohibits the irresponsible promotion and consumption of alcohol. The Block Party is one of our range of Freshers Week events, the majority of which are non-alcohol focused including our Global Party, tours of the city and a craft afternoon.” (Gráinne Gahan, Welfare Officer)

The Union is also in the process of developing a team of trained staff and volunteers that the SU has dubbed “goodnight owls” that will provide assistance for students in events like these in the future, offering bottles of water for and helpful advice with regard to contraception and drugs, as well as specific travel oriented taxi advice for students new to the city.

The aim of the evening is for students to have a good time and to come and meet the vibrant nightlife that Brighton is so (in)famous for being host to, and although this sort of evening activity is by no means novel for notorious West St, the relative inexperience of many who will be taking the tour this evening may prove a significant cause for concern.

Lets hope this year’s event doesn’t turn into a curb crawl…

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