The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

£1,000s lost as Union festival flops

– 150 tickets sold for 6,000 capacity night
-Union refuse to disclose loss but admits its thousands
– Owens Park JCRs threaten boycott of Union events

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The Students’ Union has been forced to cancel the M13 Festival at the last minute due to lack of interest.

M13 Festival was set to take place on Saturtday, 29th September, but only 150 tickets were sold in a 6,000 capacity event.

Despite beginning the promotion campaign at the end of last term and a late decision to slash prices from £20 to £10, the Union was unable to attract interest and announced the cancellation late on Wednesday 26th September.

The Union has refused to disclose the total financial loss from cancellations, stating, “We know that it is significantly less than if the event had gone ahead. There have been great successes in other areas of the Union which will do something to offset this cost.” When speculated that the loss ran into the thousands, the Union declared that to be a “fair comment.”

Nick Pringle, General Secretary to the Students Union, was also approached for the total loss, but declined to release figures for “commercial sensitivity” reasons.

Had the event sold out to capacity, ticket sales would have generated £120,000 for the Students’ Union.

Tommy Fish, the Activities Officer for the Students’ Union, questioned whether the line-up reflected the price. “Students will only pay £20 for something special, like Pangaea or The Warehouse  Project. To charge £20 for a launch night, you really need to be delivering a special line-up.”

The line-up included Marina and the Diamonds, Herve, Westwood, and a DJ set from Mike Skinner.

Mr Fish also cited the clash with The Warehouse Project launch and the failure to create a facebook events page as factors for the eventual cancellation.

“Students need to be making decisions on these kind of things, and there doesn’t seem to have been enough student input. We should be looking at some kind of student body for organisation, or at least allow them to have more of a say than a survey.”

“It’s a shame, because after Freshers’ Week there’s not the same kind of opportunity to have that kind of event beyond Pangaea.”

The cancellation comes after disappointing ticket sales were reported for The Welcome Week Party, which had as a headline act Kazabian, a tribute band for Kasabian.

Ben Hourihaine, Social Secretary for the Owens Park, told The Mancunion that because of these two events, Owens Park would be “boycotting the Union’s Welcome Week night” next year.

He added that at a Student Senior Council involving JCR Presidents, there was “general feeling of disgust” over the way both events had been handled.

A spokesperson for the Students’ Union said, “There was extensive consultation with students in halls of residences last year who were keen to see a significant name; so we booked Marina and the Diamonds. The format of the event as a multi-room festival style event was a direct request of the students who worked closely with last year’s officers to plan the event.

When asked why they thought the event failed, the spokesperson said, “Clearly last year the union misinterpreted this demand and our marketing failed to attract enough attention.”

“It’s now clear how much Welcome Week relies on being a part of official halls packs, which we weren’t this year. As always we continue to look for ways to improve the union and what we offer and following M13 we’re significantly reviewing our Welcome Week activity.”

A member of the Executive admitted complaints were made, both relating to The Welcome Week Party and M13 festival.

Martin Laws, Commercial Director for the Students’ Union, said in a press release: “It is regrettable that this event did not go ahead as planned, but we will not be discouraged from responding to the requests of students and trying new things. In the coming weeks we will be looking at ways to ensure that all our events are as popular as our new club night and the legendary Pangaea.”