It has become the biggest selling student night, attracting thousands of students across the UK every year. After recent bad press, some are saying Carnage should be banned. The fancy dress event takes place in some of the UK’s largest cities; with Southampton holding a Carnage bar crawl several times a year.
The event is organised by Carnage UK, owned by the Varsity Leisure Group, and sees thousands of university revellers descend on to some of Southampton’s hottest nightspots each term.
Laura Tomkins, who used to work at Buddha, a Carnage Venue, says: “Carnage nights are truly one of the busiest for us. It gets crazy.”
Earlier this month, saw over one thousand two hundred students attend a Carnage UK organised bar-crawl with the theme of “Beauty vs. Geek”.
And although, the latest Carnage remained a rather tame night for Southampton, back in October 2010 a Southampton University student was photographed urinating on the Cenotaph in Watts Park, near the entrance of one of the venue.
“It seems like for this one night students don’t care what they do. They run around the city like animals – fighting, vomiting, it’s not nice,” continues Tomkins.
The recent bad press has shone a light on the negativity of mass student nights, and its impact on the city. Southampton MP John Denham has urged for a ban on Carnage UK from running the controversial events, but as of yet Carnage still seems to be going strong.
At least twenty student unions have banned Carnage UK and its advertising from its premises and have threatened to withdraw their endorsements with any bar that takes part within the last two years.
However, Southampton is yet to ban the event and continuing taking part in the UK student sensation. The main concern involving many is that these Carnage events encouraged binge drinking among university students.
However, Kyle Johnson, an organiser for the Carnage events, says: “We do not focus on alcohol and definitely do not encourage binge drinking. Our events are focused on group Identity.”
And if Carnage were banned, would it truly discourage students from binge drinking? With an estimated 34,000 students calling Southampton their home during term time, alcohol consumption and rowdy revellers are surely expected in the city.
“With or without Carnage, I think students are still going to consume alcohol, get drunk and go out”, says Johnson. “Our events just create group morality. It’s a place for all students and only students.”
And with university fees expected to rise shortly, and money being tight for everyone, let alone students, £10 for entry for all your favourite bars seems rather cheap, and one of the possible attractions for students.
Johnson reveals: “The t-shirt is £10 and gains you access to roughly ten venues. We make it that price because we know students don’t have money to burn. It’s cheap enough that most people can join in.”