By Arianna Lee (and others)

Sussex treasure island fest:

Freshers week kicked off with the Sussex Festival, headlined this year by Annie Mac. The festival had a relaxed vibe, and was held in the usual spot- the ACCA lawns outside Falmer House. This year it was Treasure Island themed, and Annie Mac blew the tent roof off as per! Everyone seemed to be there for the music and mingling, rather than getting sloppy drunk, but even so there was some crazy dancing.

Freshers fair:

The second essential freshers week event was of course the freshers fair, held at the Amex stadium this year. The fair consisted of stalls from over 50 of Sussex’s best societies showcasing what they had to offer and looking to recruit new members. 

The fair began at 11am and finished at 4pm, and before it even began, keen students were queueing outside in the dank English weather in order to be first at the freebies.

There were plenty of societies involved, including the cultural, hobby-based, and of course the sporting societies in attendance. With Sussex and Brighton being a famous hub for politics and activism there were, of course, plenty of politically inclined societies, along with activism-based societies. A very popular stall located right at the centre was the Dominos stall which was giving out free pizza to ensure that the attendees were not starving throughout the day!

Needless to say, despite the twist in location this year Freshers Fair was a great success and there was plenty of room for people to navigate through compared to when it was located in the sports hall or in library square. The Amex staff also helped, as they overlooked the setting up of the stalls and ensured that those attending did so in an orderly manner.

If you missed out on attending the fair, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get involved with any of the societies! Just by heading over to the Student Union website you can discover all the existing societies and how you can get in touch with them.  

Sonaili Vasta (Features sub-editor)

Lgbtq coffee morning

The LGBTQ+ coffee morning, held in Room 76 by the Student’s Union and the LGBTQ+ society, had quite the turnout! If you are part of the community, this event was a great one to introduce you to fellow queers and maybe make some new friends at the start of freshers week. 

I bumbled along and got to know plenty of lively and fun members of the community, plenty of who were first years, coming along in the hopes of feeling included and meeting people. As so many people came, at least 50 odd, it was impossible that you wouldn’t make a few friends, despite the lack of ice-breakers. 

The event had a relaxed, friendly vibe and was a lovely way to start the week, and I am hopeful the LGBTQ+ soc throw plenty more events for members of the community to mingle and express themselves in a safe, inclusive environment.

Roller disco

The SU hosted their usual roller disco in the Mandela Hall for freshers week. I went to find out exactly what a roller disco is and also to try my hand at roller skating for the very first time. 

For those who may not have gone to avoid the embarrassment of trying and failing at roller skating- you were not alone! Plenty of people were falling over and picking themselves up, I was one of them! However, with the wooden flooring and provided wrist guards, falling didn’t hurt and it was easy to figure out how not to do it again. The skates were provided too, along with a fun selection of easy-going hits to get you grooving on your skates.

All in all, it was a fun event, just perhaps not the best for mingling as it is hard to talk when you’re concentrating on not falling on your bum!

Drag soc brunch

The DragSoc brunch started as the society means to go on- with a bang! Room 76 was filled to the brim with different LGBTQ+ flags, and plenty of daring outfits. The committee made mingling with other attendees easy with a round of Human Bingo (which I won), and kept up the lively atmosphere with LGBTQ+ focused quizzes, a round of regular bingo, and lots of prizes to go around! 

Other fun games were played and a lovely veggie or vegan brunch was served to all the guests. A lively playlist full of queer anthems raged in the background, and I had a fantastic time. If you want to join a society that is inclusive and ridiculously fun, DragSoc is for you!

Pier party and seafront takeover 

The pier party was the highlight of my freshers week. Held at the Brighton Pier, Sussex students only were allowed in and given unlimited goes on all the rides from 6-11pm. Unfortunately, a few of the rides were closed due to the windy weather, but the other rides were so much fun, and brought up some childhood nostalgia.

There was a selection of rides, from spinning cups to haunted house roller coasters, and barely any queues as we got in early. The weather stayed fairly okay, with only light drizzle, and the event had such a turnout even the university staff got involved!

If you went to the pier party, you were given a wristband for the seafront takeover – a free clubbing event involving four seafront venues. We opted for Shoosh, and had a really good night!

Drag soc rainbow ball

Being the first university drag society in the UK, it is no surprise that DragSoc kicked off the new academic year in style. Starting at 9pm and ending around 3am on Friday 27th September, Mandela Hall was near to completely filled to the brim with Queens, Kings and screaming groupies. DragSoc managed to create an informal, safe setting with absolute professional quality acts and a beautifully curated playlist. From the gender-neutral toilets, to an audience always prepared to listen to someone singing a completely off key rendition of Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ – was that just me? – or from the sign language that went alongside the acts the entire night, this society created a totally fabulous party for all that were there. 

DragSoc has an incredible way of bringing in and accepting everyone, whether as purely a spectator and supporter or someone who would enjoy performing themselves. The society runs as completely non-profit though many have gained from the platform that it provides, as it elevates and allows those like Prince of Persia (President of DragSoc) to be seen and paid outside of university events and be active in Brighton’s Drag world. 

A ‘big queer happy family’ that accepts everyone regardless of gender and sexuality, workshops and monthly shows are coming up for anyone who wishes to get involved with this refreshing society.

Jessica Hake (Theatre editor) and Harrison Fitzgerald (staff writer)

Boundary festival

This year was the 4th instalment of Brighton’s very own Boundary festival. It was not an official freshers event, but I had to include it in the recap as it had over 10,000 attendees! As Sussex students, we got tickets cheaper than the general public, which were definitely worth it as some of the big names on the line-up included Wilkinson, Chase and Status, and Camelphat. 

Obviously, the event was packed; it had sold out a few weeks previously, disappointing last-minute buyers. The yellow and blue tents were huge, and people packed in for popular acts like Holy Goof. There was plenty of festival food on sale, with veggie and vegan options, and even wood-fired pizza. 

The acoustics were insane, and so were the acts, with many of them eliciting ear shattering cheers from the audience. I was front row in the Supercharged tent for many of the acts and do not regret it even though I still can’t quite hear right!

All in all, a fantastic experience, and a great way to close out this summer’s festival season, and freshers week. For more events like these, make sure you join some of Sussex’s societies who will be hosting events year round!

Categories: Features

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