The Big Question: “Can official, mainstream clubs keep up with alternative nights in Nottingham?”

Jessica Farrugia Sharples argues YES…

We’re very lucky to have a plethora of clubs and bars in Nottingham that cater to whatever niche or mainstream music tastes any student may have – whether it’s old-school Motown, roots reggae, live Latin American or 90s’ hip hop you’re craving, you’ll find it. Following the onslaught of Fresher nights out which, more often than not, revolved around going to the same three clubs with identical music every week, I enjoyed branching out, going against the grain and tottering off the VK-strewn path to enjoy some of the excellent ‘alternative’ nights Nottingham has to offer. The Swing nights at Spanky Van Dykes amazed me with the calibre of live jazz music; getting lost in the maze of Stealth and Rescue Rooms to some huge dubstep names left me with enjoyable but unfortunately fleeting memories, and the many nights in The Bodega with its eclectic music and fairy-lit garden provide a contrast to the huge clubs, and a much more enjoyable experience. Nights like Twisted Hearts and Itchy Feet have been a huge success recently on the student scene, although commercially it is arguably very difficult for the alternative nights to compete with the weekly official ones.

The popularity of official nights can be hugely detrimental to other venues establishing their own nights, but fortunately every now and then, an event like Gin And Juice or Highness Sound System, which offer something different, will steal away students from the regular venues. However, mainly due to popularity, reputation and years of ‘everyone going’, nights like Ocean are a firm fixture in the student week – and for someone who has witnessed the most hardened mainstream-nightclub-haters embrace the Ocean dance floor, t-shirts swinging in the air, strawpedo-ing VKs like there’s no tomorrow, it’s unlikely to change any time soon.

Hugo Trace argues NO…

Unlike Trent, whose geography allows for city advertising to spread the word of independent nights, the isolated nature of the ‘Uni of’ campus means Freshers experience more instructional methods of herding them towards nights which have struck deals with the Union – the official nights like Ocean and Crisis. This can mean that many miss out on experiencing the full potential of Nottingham. Don’t get me wrong, most people, including myself, have a soft spot for a Rock City all-nighter or the odd Ocean on Friday. However, as everyone knows, University is a serious opportunity to broaden horizons and experience new things, and where better to do that than at Nottingham, a city long famed for staging exciting and vast entertainment.

Having spent underage years drinking shots at Oceana Kingston, and perhaps no longer wishing to swing their shirts around their heads singing ‘I’ll be there…!’, many people come to Nottingham in order to explore its vibrant nightlife variety. Now looking to buzz their dubstep-sweat out in Stealth, go underground for DnB in Dogma, seek redemption at Pop Confessional, bop their locks at Bass Culture, fist-pump at 808 and CMYK, or groove to some disco-house with a cocktail at Phoenix, students often find it hard to break from what is seemingly a predestined attendance to the official nights.  Young students are assured by older students – who themselves struggled to break out of this predetermination in their own first year – that these official nights are the hottest ones in Nottingham. As already stated, a huge amount of students, including myself, are partial to a Jaeger-filled Crisis, but there is so much more to Nottingham than these fairly generic nights, which can be found anywhere in the country from Bognor to Harborough!

There is, however, another large and ever-growing group, who, knowing that the official nights will always be there whenever they want, strive to experience what Nottingham herself has to offer. Luckily, through this group’s hunger to see Nottingham’s true colours, teamed with the persistence of keen independent promoters, the city continues to provide its renowned range of night-time excitement.

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