Final Fling 2009

Final Fling 2009: The biggest event of the Warwick social calendar. After a tough term of exams and 12 hour days in the library we were all looking forward to letting our hair down and partying hard to the sounds of the Pigeon Detectives, up-and-coming British rapper Master Shortie, and possibly the biggest act to grace the Final Fling stage, the legendary Basement Jaxx. For some finalists, it would be their last night out as students before entering the real world and facing jobs, an economic crisis and (gasp!) pre-9am starts. So could the event possibly live up to the hype?

Booking Basement Jaxx as headliners was possibly the worst kept secret by the Union in many years; rumours began flying around as early as January after posters were put up, plastered with the distinctive album cover from 2005’s compilation album, ‘Basement Jaxx: The Singles.’ When the Union confirmed it and announced the Pigeon Detectives as the second act, there was the usual desperate struggle for finalists to get their hands on the coveted dinner tickets.

The day finally arrived, and a team of hundreds descended upon the historic Coombe Abbey site, erecting marquees and fairground rides, preparing a three course meal for several hundred, and performing sound checks as the artists arrived. Guests started pouring in just after six, dressed in their finest. The girls mostly shied away from full length puffiness and went for shorter cocktail dresses and summery florals. Guys stuck to the safe but sound, black suit and bow-tie, with a brave few opting for greys and blues and a few true individuals decking themselves out in kilts and full Scottish garb. The main marquee was already decked out for dinner in stylish silver, black and pink, and guests feasted on tomato and mozzarella torte, roasted lamb and chocolate truffle.

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At 7, Warwick’s favourite home-grown artist, Fran Lobo, stepped onto the stage, showing off her soulful powerful vocals and ably supported by her backing musicians. Master Shortie was on next and proved to be deserving of his label of BBC music’s ‘ones to watch.’ In particular, his most recent single, ‘Dance Like a White Boy’ managed to get the crowd going on the dance-floor with its vibrant beat and catchy chorus. We managed to slip out of the marquee at the end to have a ride on the Rhythm rider, and were cornered by an over enthusiastic ride operator who decided to spin our group around on the Waltzers until we were all slightly dazed and hysterical, and crossing our fingers that our recently consumed dinners wouldn’t be re-emerging later. Nevertheless we staggered off the ride, dignity just about intact, and managed to have a walk around and take in our surroundings. The union had done itself proud this year, with food stalls a-plenty selling the usual chips and burgers but also the more exotic sweet and sour chilli noodles. One of the smaller tents had been turned into a casino and cocktail bar, and we had a go at the hoopla stall, failing dismally to win any prizes. Having loudly declared that these stalls were a con and it was impossible to win anything, we were silenced by seeing several people carrying large winnie-the-poohs under their arms, looking only slightly incongruous in their formal wear.

The Pigeon Detectives came on after 9 and played their usual catchy upbeat indie-pop tunes, following which we were rushed outside for a fireworks display. There was really one act that everyone was waiting for, and we had to fight through crowds of people to get near enough to see the stage. Basement Jaxx delivered an electrifying set, a mixture of old and new tracks, re-mixes and their own material. The main duo Simon and Felix were ably supported by a group of the most astonishingly energetic girls I have ever seen, dancing madly around the stage decked out in outrageous colours, metallic spandex, frilly skirts, and prom dresses, and then astonishing us with their immensely powerful vocals. The male members of the group had their share of the fun too, appearing in show-stopping costumes including brightly coloured masks and even a gorilla costume. The highlights of the night included a slow and surprisingly poignant rendition of ‘Romeo’ and the final tribal dance- inspired ending with the last song, ‘Bingo Bango’, where the dancers were dressed in carnival inspired outfits fully decked out with tail feathers.

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The energy level of the crowd slightly dropped as Basement Jaxx left the stage and girls began to take off their heels to dance to the cheesy sounds of old favourites, our Top Banana DJs. Despite the feeling that the best part of the night was over, the main tent and the silent disco were buzzing and busy right up till the end of the night.

All in all, a pretty good way to round off three years at Warwick and head intthe real world. Congratulations to all finalists!

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