Review: Sidney Sussex June Event

Image credit: Zak Thomas Johnson

Sidney Sussex June Event might have seemed like a rogue choice, on the same night as King’s Affair, and at a college not known for much other than its serendipitous proximity to Sainsbury’s, but it was a perfect slice of May Week on a warm summer’s night.

The theme, Childish Things, was aesthetically executed to perfection. Rather than trying to rigidly realise it, the committee took the concept as something alive and fun and did exactly what they were asking of their attendees – they played. Blessed with gardens upon gardens, the space lent itself to the creation of magical getaway. They, in turn, beautifully married together space and concept through a remarkable attention to detail and tongue-in-cheek décor; there were inflatable dinosaurs holding balloons, a fabric octopus draped casually in the shrubbery, and colourful umbrellas lazily swaying in the fairy-light-lit breeze.

Food and drink did the job well and stuck to Cambridge staples with some added eclectic choices. There was Aromi pizza, mac and cheese, vegan hot dogs, roaming sushi, and cereal with a choice of flavoured milk to bring in the witching hour. Alcohol ranged from classics to experimental sweet drinks and a selection of beers. My particular favourite was the Greek liquor which combined with tonic or with ginger beer tasted like it had been siphoned straight from a leaf, the taste of summer sap. In and around the eating and drinking were a bouncy castle, face glitter, photo booth, and ball pit meaning that you were never short of something to do whilst waiting for the queues to die down.

Particularly impressive were the ents. The wide-ranging selection broke free from the often quite repetitive Cambridge scene and brought in something more interactive and energising. This was evident with T SQUARED, the dance duo who had everyone on their feet copying some impressive, but still simple enough to follow moves. The smaller stages showcased incredibly diverse student talent, from hip-hop ukulele to RnB medleys. The music on the mainstage was the standout, however. It had generally electronic themes with a variety of vocals; Penya was a nod to Afro-Latin music, and Dr Meaker, the incredible headliner, brought dirty soul to the night. The silent disco took the event to its close. In quite an unusual freedom, we were allowed our headphones across the site, leaving me dancing in the twinkling night to some noughties classics in the grass outside the sweltering mainstage tent. 

In a way, the drifting silent disco summarised how the June Event perfectly toned down the sometimes-overwhelming decadence of May Week. It never seemed to take itself too seriously - the committee had clearly come to the event from the perspective of the party-goer, and not just the party-maker. Everyone, including the sashed committee members, seemed to be revelling in pure, childish, fun. 

I’d say Sidney is one to watch – an inventive and impeccable night, I can only lament that it ended so soon that I didn’t get to bring in the sunrise.

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