A student guide to the summer ball

Over 30 live acts across eight stages, five massive headliners, a fun fair, a casino and everyone’s favourite: a headphone disco. These all form one night of the academic year that you will not forget – the summer ball. At Plymouth University the annual black-tie event, based across the entire campus, is your final chance of the year to gather your friends and have one last blast before the summer break.


Thousands of students come together for the one-night-only, festival-styled event that includes multiple music stages, live acts, DJs and so much more. Every year, the ball gets bigger and better and tickets sell out faster than ever. From artists such as Craig David to Labrinth and Ella Eyre performing on the main stage, right in the centre of the campus, you really couldn’t ask for more.  

For the past two years, I have been an official photographer for the event, and last year I took the lead of the media team with seven other student photographers. It was our job to capture the best moments of the Summer Ball – and it was incredible! As a photographer, I get the best seats in the house, right at the front of the stage. I even had a quick chat backstage with Craig David!  

The night begins by getting ready with your friends and glamming yourself up for the night. Or in my case that mostly involves charging up the batteries for my camera and making sure all my equipment is ready to go. After popping champagne with your best friends, it’s time to head out. As you enter the summer ball arena, your walk on the red carpet will be captured by one of the photographers, so make sure you show off your best poses…  

Upon entry, you receive a glass of bubbly and it’s time to explore. Last year, the Summer Ball expanded with a new Secret Garden area based at the back of the Main Hall, and a new VIP area for final years featuring DJs from nationwide indie-night Propaganda.  

Throughout the evening, there are artists playing around campus across the Main Stage at the centre of the campus, the Main Hall and the Students’ Union. There's also a stage for the regular SU open mic night, Jam House, where students can show off their talents to a wider audience. The popular Temple of Boom tent was back last year with a drum‘n’bass theme, and the 1920s-style, Gatsby-themed tent featured tunes from the jazz age.  

In previous years, the summer ball has welcomed artists like Professor Green, Noah and The Whale, Katy B, Becky Hill, Jaguar Skills, Blonde, Preditah and many more. I can’t wait to find out this year’s line-up.  


If you fancy a little break from the music, head over to the fairground rides, which are all based on campus near Roland Levinsky Building and include classics like dodgems and slides. With the event running from around 7pm until late, there are plenty of things to keep you busy. To finish off the night of course there's the amazing headphone disco!

The summer ball is the perfect opportunity for everyone to get together and have that one final big night, creating some lasting memories. It’s not only the perfect opportunity to get a photo of your squad looking on point but you may also bag yourself that date with the guy or girl you’ve kept bumping into on campus for the past year. For many final year students, this is the last big university event before graduation, and for first years it’s the biggest event after fresher’s week, when everyone’s together in one place. The summer ball is the event of the year that you won’t want to miss.