On Friday 7 June, Newcastle University Students’ Union hosted Summer Jam for the first ever time.
The event was a free on-campus festival with food, drink, music and dancing, and was the brainchild of 2018/19 Activities Officer Sophie McDermott, who also organised the Grad Ball, Pride of Newcastle Awards event and NU Fest. Describing her inspiration for the event, McDermott said: “After working with the Culture Campus committee, I had realised early in the year how important seeing diversity on campus was, and decided to organise an event that allowed for a diversity of food, drink and music on campus.”
The highlight of the event for many was the music. McDermott said: “After the success of the Jazz night in my NU Festival of Culture, I realised students really craved an opportunity to listen to other student bands on campus”. Summer Jam was compered by Newcastle Studio Radio, who provided a diversity of songs for the students to dance to, followed by three live bands. Performances by indie and Latin American were warmly received by eager revellers, and the night ended with a set by Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra.
Alongside being an opportunity to celebrate and support student musicians, the event provided an opportunity for students to celebrate the end of exams. This was particularly the case for those unable to attend the Grad Ball, which was being held the following day and which had sold out, leaving many final years students disappointed.
Food offerings were provided by catering vans from Fat Hippo, which has branches in the city centre and in Jesmond, and Hatch 76, which is located in Stack. Waroeng Indonesia, a pop-up restaurant and catering business launched by two Newcastle University graduates, also fed hungry students. Pints were provided by NUSU’s very own StuBrew, Europe's first student-run microbrewery. Red Bull provided free drinks and a silent disco in Luther’s, and Quaff sold cocktails.
Summarising the success of the event, McDermott said: “Despite the rain it was an incredible successful event. About 300 people attended and without the rain this would have been more. I look forward to future events.”