Open Air Cinema, Wipeout Tour, Radio 1’s Big Weekend…none of them are happening any time soon

Most of them have been cancelled, postponed or re-branded as completely different events


Thousands of students have handed over their details to a series of Facebook events which look like they will never happen.

In the last month, several events appeared promising open air cinemas, anti-tuition fee marches and local versions of popular TV shows at unis across the country.

But all of the parties – which are run by promoters Electric Ents – have been cancelled, postponed, or totally re-branded as pages for freshers arriving next year.

The BBC branded the Radio 1 Big Weekend parties a “scam”, while several universities and students unions issued warnings about other events.

Electric Ents blamed “negative PR”, “health and safety”, and “complications” for the cancellation or postponement of events.

Owner Christian Samuel insisted the Open Air Cinema would still happen in 2016.


What happened to the parties?

NO MORE TUITION FEES
Billed as: A public petition to the government and a march on Westminster.

What happened: The petition never appeared, they promoted fresher groups and Total Wipeout event. The events were deleted.

Explanation: “We didn’t consider the complications of setting up a petition.”

RADIO 1 BIG WEEKEND
Billed as: Bringing the popular festival to your uni town.

What happened: The BBC branded it a “scam” and Electric Ents deleted the pages at their request.

Explanation: “The aim was to influence the BBC’s decision on where to hold their Big Weekend.”

TOTAL WIPEOUT
Billed as: A nationwide tour for “the craziest student event” for each uni promising prizes.

What happened: Unis called the events out as scams, the pages still exist but the forms have been deleted.

Electric Ents’ explanation: “We didn’t think about the health and safety regulations and now we won’t be doing them.”

WATER FIGHTS AND OTHERS
Billed as: Several lame parties set up for when exams finish and the weather improves.

What happened: They were changed into fresher groups for all those coming to uni in September, full of people already at the uni.

Explanation: The events are still happening and some pages were changed to accommodate more parties.

OPEN AIR CINEMA
Billed as: A series of outdoor screenings of your favourite films this summer.

What happened: Several of events popped up and asked you to enter your details. The pages still exist.

Electric Ents’ explanation: We’ve been forced to delay it till 2016, but we did have venues booked.


Concerns were first raised when several events appeared on Facebook promising events which sound too good to be true.

Almost all ask you to fill in your personal details through a Google form made by Electric Ents.

According to online stats, The Open Air Cinema form received over 118,000 clicks.

open air cinema form with traffic

The forms are powered by “bitly links”, which allow the owner to track how many people click.

The man being linked to these forms is Christian Samuel, who promotes several links under the name Christian James.

Christian Samuel, who runs Electric Ents, says the Open Air Cinema events will happen.

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Christian Samuel, co-owner of Electric Ents

He told The Tab: “Shortly after the release of the Facebook pages and subsequent facebook events a considerable amount of negative press and spurious accusations began to accumulate towards the Open Air Cinema. We found ourselves plunged into a PR and marketing black hole.

“We had actually secured and confirmed multiple sites around the UK for the Open Air Cinema for summer 2015, however, due to the prolonged negative PR we have had to pull out and reassess our strategy with a view to re-launch in the future. Currently our plans sit with looking to re-schedule for summer 2016.”

But Total Wipeout events have been criticised by several Student Unions and universities already.

The University of Kent said: “The rumour that the BBC game show Total Wipeout is coming to the University on Saturday 3 October 2015 is not true.”

wipeout uni tour

Curiously the events do not specify a location for the Total Wipeout events.

Christian told us the events became popular before they researched the legalities behind putting on an event where people could easily injure themselves.

He said: “Unfortunately, due to UK health and safety regulations, the continuation of these events was unrealistic.”

Previously, pages petitioning for BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend to come to your town or city were branded “scams” by the BBC shortly after the pages appeared.

The pages hosted Google Doc forms, again powered by Electric Ents and a link tracking profile under the name christianunicribs.

Once they were denounced by the BBC, the forms disappeared.

Christian said the creation of these events was to influence the BBC’s decision on where to hold their Big Weekend.

When the BBC asked for it to be removed, he says they complied by shutting down the pages.

Similarly, the page promoting the No More Tuition Fees masqueraded as a cause many cared about.

It promises a national march on June 4 and another petition page has almost 4,500 attendees.

But when users went to sign the petition, they were taken to a Google form where they were asked to share their details.

The group also promoted the Wipeout tour events and hundreds of fresher Facebook groups, all managed by the Christian James profile.

Christian defended the No More Tuition Fees as “a completely non-profit venture unrelated to our business”, and claimed the form was a real petition.

The page has now been taken down.

The Electric Ents co-owner made no comment on whether the march would ever happen, but blamed the negative PR from their botched efforts on delaying the Open Air Cinema events till next year and ended their plans on publishing an actual petition.

There is even a page called I’m going to University in 2015, which comes with its own Google sign up form. It’s powered by Electric Ents and the link goes back to Christian Samuel.

Other events were created for a Massive Student Water Fight in several cities.

Now, five of the events have been changed to Freshers 2015 events designed for those starting uni in September. The event for Swansea has been cancelled entirely.

Read the full statement from Electric Ents here.