Freshers’ Festival review: High quality in difficult circumstances

The build-up to this year’s YUSU Freshers’ Festival on October 12 was overshadowed by news breaking in the afternoon that Professor Green had cancelled his headline set, suffering with “the flu”. 

The absence of the festival’s headline act may have contributed to what was described to Vision, by sources informed of the event’s planning, as an attendance that was below expectations. While freshers who spoke to Vision spoke positively about the festival’s acts, many expressed their disappointment with the “vibe” or “general feeling” of the event that the lower attendance caused, particularly earlier on in the evening.

Freshers that did attend found an event that was bigger and provided more diverse music options than in previous years, with the move to Greg’s Place being viewed as a success, with the festival utilising Central Hall as a silent disco venue that was, at some points, better attended than the main stage. Vanbrugh Dining Room and V-Bar were also used to provide more relaxed spaces for festival-goers.

On the main stage, Dionne Bromfield began the evening with an acoustic soul set, the highlight of the night, with stripped back covers and original songs including a debut performance of her upcoming single ‘Bad Intentions.’

She was followed by a high-energy dance set from singer-songwriter Kelli-Leigh, during which the main stage attendance began to grow.

In the place of Professor Green’s headline set were sets by Afro Bashment duo Lotto Boyzz, making their second appearance at a YUSU event in 2019, having performed at the Summer Ball earlier this year, as well as a DJ set by Tristan Evans, drummer in pop band The Vamps’.

Image by YUSU

Lotto Boyzz showed again in a high-paced set that they can be relied on to excite a crowd, so proved able replacements in Professor Green’s headline slot, before the festival was closed by DJ sets from Tristan and from Will Manning.

The URY Acoustic Stage was another new addition, that provided what were seen by many as highlights of the night. The lineup began with a set from George Wilkinson that was varied and often emotional. Unfortunately, the majority of his set was complete before the doors to the festival were opened, 20 minutes after the scheduled time, and so turnout was low.

The Acoustic Stage as a whole was viewed by many as a success, especially during Luke Lucas’ passionate set, where more people were watching his set than watching the Main Stage.

Overall, despite the challenge of a cancelled headline act, all those that Vision spoke to felt that YUSU delivered a high-quality festival given the challenging circumstances of a cancelled headliner, even if the positive atmosphere was dampened by what many freshers saw as a low attendance.

Featured Image by YUSU.