Denied free tap water at SUBU Summerball

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In a previous post, we assured you all that bottled water and free tap water would be available at SUBU Summerball this year. However, bars denied students tap water even in such hot weather. 

Summerball is a SUBU organised event, a place that is meant to look out for the well-being of students at Bournemouth University. Last week we contacted SUBU Summerball on Facebook to check this and they said there would of course be free tap water and bottles of water at Summerball this year. It was set to be a scorcher.

However, many students feel let down and disappointed that on such a hot, alcohol fuelled day they were denied free tap water at the majority of bars. At one point, friends and I were even told that a bar had no bottled water. This is what students have to say about it.

Water was sold for £1.50-£2 at SUBU bars, with food stands and ice cream trucks sometimes charging more.

Charlotte, 20

“Students are stuck in a field in 20+ heat, without access to free drinking water. People were passing out because they didn’t want to pay upwards of £2 for a bottle of water when they could have bought a VK instead. I even saw a policeman buy a boy water because he had lost all his money.”

Tabby, 21

It was ridiculous with how hot it was there should have been free water. If Cameo can do it, they should be able to do it. They were asking for people to pass out”

Jasmine, 21

“It was absolutely ridiculous – I had to go home early because I had a migraine, heat stroke and no access to free water.”

Ellie, 20

“I bought a bottle of water, kind of expecting it to be filled up. When I went back to the bar and asked them to refill it they told me they couldn’t. I had to pay £1.50 for another bottle of water. This was only at about 5 o’clock, so not even very late.”

Erin, 20

“I had to pay £1.50 for a bottle of water, even after I asked for tap water. It’s disgusting, we are students! We need free tap water!”

Lucien, 19

“I asked for water but they wouldn’t give it to me, so I had to pay £1.50. It’s ridiculous, it’s a festival how can they not?! I asked for tap water and they said there wasn’t any!”

Edmee, 20

“There was one bar serving tap water, but they stopped at midnight which I think is when people need water the most! I also got given a bottle of water I paid £2 for without the lid.”

Charlie, 19

“I had been drinking all day and they wouldn’t give me any tap water, but they can offer me beer and VK’s!”

Edit: Since posting this article, many students have come forward to speak about the lack of free tap water throughout the day, as well as dietary requirements not being catered for across the site. So far SUBU have not replied to any messages sent by NERVE staff regarding this situation. Have your say here!

Many students have been quick to point out that at Bournemouth 7’s the weekend before, which is held at the same location, every bar was quick to give out free tap water in big plastic cups. Some even bought up the unfortunate deaths at Mutiny Festival, whose water supply ran out and they were forced to close for their second day of the festival. It seems that even the emergency services on site were unaware of free water on site and told students they were unsure of where they could get some.

Nick, 21

“Me and my girlfriend had to pay for water all day… Worst of all though was the queue in the summer heat where no water was provided. People were getting heat stroke and panic attacks in the queue.”

Josie, 21, Adult Nursing

“Queueing for two hours just to enter the Summer Ball, without water in the hot sun is not on. £2 for one bottle of water is ridiculous! After being finally allowed to enter the event, I was quick to realise that dietary requirements had not been catered for, including gluten free and vegan.”

Angelina, 22, MSc Events Marketing

“Two hours in the queue under the sun with no chance to get water or go to the toilet, are you serious? Sort something out!”

Ollie, 21

“We were left in queues for well over two hours in scorching sun, with absolutely no water or shade whatsoever. We asked police, paramedics, security and SUBU staff if they had ANY water at all they could give us and they all said no. It was SUCH a hot day and i saw countless people becoming ill because of the heat+alcohol without enough water, so to be charging students £2 per bottle and having no access to free tap water was dangerous and unacceptable. If every other festival in the U.K. can do it, so can SUBU.”

Ashton, 21

“I was charged 50p for a refill of my water! It was terrible considering what happened at a festival the weekend before.”

Someone who worked at Summerball this year said:

“I don’t think they realised how much of a demand there would be for water. Bottled water was stored in one location so when a bar ran out more had to be requested hence why sometimes it wasn’t available. It wasn’t done in bad faith or to ensure other drinks were bought.”

Stay tuned for more stories from this weekend reguarding this issue!

We have contacted SUBU about this issue to find out why this happened. Until then, please get in touch here if you have anymore stories to add, about water or other things!