Battle of the College Days: University College

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8521719140_acccecb1fd_oThis year’s Castle Day was held on Saturday 6th June, with a “90s Kids Birthday Party” theme. Despite difficult weather conditions making setup quite challenging – trust me, trying to put up a massive gazebo in strong winds is a pretty stressful experience – everything came together in the end, and the day could get going!

With different activities taking place in different areas of the Castle, there was plenty for Castlemen and women to get up to on the day. Fellows Garden provided one of the highlights of the event: a bungee run. Dozens of us decided to put our strength, stamina and endurance to the test, all while attached to a hilariously volatile bungee; dozens of us failed epically.

For those of a less adventurous disposition, the courtyard featured a chilled-out open mic session from Castle’s finest musicians, alongside the college’s annual Iron Man competition. While numerous worthy candidates demonstrated their strength- special shoutout goes to Blackjack the welfare dog, whose efforts were frankly the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen – there could only be one winner… and this year, it was fresher Gus Woolley who took home the coveted Golden Iron.

After a chilled out afternoon – where the sun even made a couple of brief appearances – the evening saw a college wide barbecue. Of course, in the true style of a British Summer, this is when the rain began, and the rest of the day’s events were shifted into the Great Hall. As well as classic 90s birthday party activities, including temporary tattoos, ‘Pin the Patch on the Pirate’, and a monsters-themed stall of activities, the hall was home to the main entertainment of the night.

First up were the always incredible Castle Big Band, who performed a long set of their greatest tunes. Whether you were getting down to ‘Uptown Funk’, marvelling at ’s amazing rendition of the 90s Disney classic ‘Go the Distance’, or enjoying the band’s rendition of some more jazzy classics, their set was one of the highlights of the day. Special mention should go to Zoe Mitchell’s incredible drum solo, the trumpet skills of Tomek Edwards, and the inspired and unexpected beatboxing of David Lehmani.

After Big Band came the more indie sounds of Passion Fruit Express, whose covers of songs by the likes of Arctic Monkeys and the Kaiser Chiefs  gave the evening a more chilled out feel. Finally, the night was rounded off by a classic 90s-style disco, DJed by Dave Young. With a mix of cheesy 90s and 00s hits rounding off the night, one Castleman described the disco as “a bit like a classier, less rubbish version of Klute”. What more could you want in a night out?

All in all, this year’s Castle Day, despite some pretty rubbish weather, was a definite success. Special thanks should go to Charli Adams, Callie Foreman and Celia Durkan, who did a great job organising the day, and to the amazing tech and prep teams. Here’s to another amazing day next year!

Photograph: Nicoletta Asciuto

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