Live and even louder than the previous year’s event, The Big Top featured performances from Ella Eyre, Nothing But Thieves, The Carnabys, DJ PBH, Donkey Zoo and Doxis.
The Big Top was YUSU’s penultimate event of Freshers’ week 2015. Whilst named somewhat ambiguously, it was the Live and Loud equivalent of this year’s Freshers’ week and the format was almost identical – a large musical event located in the extensive outdoor space at Heslington East – aside from the lack of mud this year, which was certainly an improvement. The event was circus themed, complete with circus performers, stalls and even a silent disco.
Gates opened at 18.30 and it took a few hours to fill up, but any early fears of the event not being well attended were thankfully alleviated as hundreds of excited students eventually streamed in to see the hotly anticipated acts. While the first few bands were watched by fewer spectators as many people were yet to arrive, the Carnabys, Doxis and York’s well-loved Donkey Zoo all gave excellent performances that were certainly worth watching.
After an impressive and well received performance from alternative rock band Nothing But Thieves, it was time for the headline act, Ella Eyre. A singer-songwriter who featured on popular Rudimental track ‘Waiting All Night’, collaborated on Sigma’s number one single ‘Changing’ (ft. Paloma Faith) and has lent her voice to the current Official England Rugby World Cup song, Ella Eyre comes next in a succession of big artists YUSU have managed to book in recent years (including DJ Fresh and Peace during Fresher’s week of 2014).
After a few minutes of the audience impatiently chanting her name, Eyre bounded onto the stage. Her energy was remarkably infectious, and she rarely stood still for a moment during the entire performance, instead darting from one side to the other and jumping vigorously across the stage. Singing a combination of popular tracks including ‘Waiting All Night’, and ‘Together’ as well as lesser known new songs, Eyre maintained the atmosphere of excitement throughout the set, rousing the audience for old and new songs, often taking a minute to teach them the chorus beforehand. The only slight dip in the otherwise upbeat mood came when Eyre announced the unfortunate result of the England vs. Australia rugby match (33-13). Nevertheless, her set continued with equal vigour and disappointed fans were soon able to forget the news and enjoy the remainder of the gig.
The evening drew to a close with a fireworks display on which clearly no expense had been spared, ending The Big Top with a bang (or rather, a succession of bangs). Well organised and certainly a success for YUSU, The Big Top was undoubtedly a high point of Freshers’ week 2015.