Imagine it’s the 1990’s. Instead of learning your alphabet and singing to The Spice Girls in crazy leggings, you are a student at Loughborough University. How do you entertain yourself? From relocation and renaming, to stand-up and champagne bars, Culture Editor Beth Baker-Wyse examines why in terms of entertainment, the town has changed considerably over the years.


Then: With the likes of Calvin Harris, Florence and the Machine, Labrinth and N-Dubz all through the doors of campus and town venues, students have enjoyed some incredible nights from international music sensations. A little closer to home, Label regularly featured up-and-coming acts and bands in the fortnightly magazine, whilst the Union and Orange Tree in town hosted plenty of acoustic and open mic nights to find undiscovered talent. Freefest always formed a huge part of the year, with funfair rides and circus acts making it a slightly bigger event than nowadays. Taking all of this into consideration, it would be fair to say that Loughborough’s music scene was diverse.

Now: There has been an increasing amount of reality stars from shows such as TOWIE and Made in Chelsea hosting events in town of late, as music acts are tending to take a back seat. With the exception of Sam and the Womp and acts during the Freshers week period, the Union has not hosted many live music events as it has in the past. However, with the rise of Dubboro and, most recently,Soundclash, something is most definitely being done to support up and coming acts, especially in the fields of House, Garage and Grime, Hip Hop and DNB.

Live Performance

Then: Regularly playing host to stand up nights featuring comedians such as Lucy Porter and Simon Bird (The Inbetweeners’ Will), as well as weekly Poker nights on Mondays, the Union offered great evenings out as a substitute for all week partying. Students from Stage Society and Shakespeare Society also put on fantastic performances for only a few pounds, and continue to do so today. Nottingham and Leicester were apparently more popular too, with students heading to theatres, restaurants and clubs there as they offered a wider variety of entertainment.

Now: With the exception of inter-departmental screenings and talks, as well as the work of RADAR Arts over in the Cope Auditorium, live performance is less apparent in Loughborough these days. Whilst the Theatre Royal in Nottingham and the Curve in Leicester continue to cater well for students, the town hall could definitely improve by introducing a greater range of student productions and prices.

Clubs and Bars

Then: The town boasted a wide variety of cheap places to drink, with most students typically heading either to pubs such Amber Rooms or The Gallery, as well as popular clubs like Vice Versa and Wild. With plenty of smaller places like The Custard Bar and Newshouse, students could have a great night out on a fairly small budget.

Now: Many of the popular places to go in town, such as Rain, Echos and Wild, still open their doors to hundreds of students every week. However, where most of the bigger pubs have remained due to locals, opening hours and restaurant facilities, smaller bars have suffered. The Kelso replaced Newshouse recently; Vodka Revolution has enjoyed much success and new club Mansion continues to blow others out of the water in terms of its nightly capacity. There clearly appears to be a growing market for the affluent student, with these ‘exclusive’ establishments offering the cocktails, champagne bars and ‘VIP’ areas the old Loughborough simply could not.

Did you know?

  • What is now Vodka Revolution was once the old site of Rain!
  • The current site of Echos used to be where the Loughborough Echo was printed!
  • In 2006 Loughborough town centre was the site of a 'flashmob' event where dozens of people appeared at the same time to 'worship' the ‘Sockman’ statue!

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