Queens’ And Clare Ents In Trouble

Traditionally two of Cambridge’s biggest ents, Queens’ and Clare Ents face a serious rethink after suffering for terrible attendance this term.

Clare ents Queens' trouble

Queens’ and Clare Ents have been left questioning their future after unusually low attendance this term.

The pair are traditionally two of the biggest ents in Cambridge, and are a part of a small group that regularly attract students from other colleges. Clare also have a reputation for hosting big names in alternative music at their regular Friday event Clare Cellars.

But Ed Bentsi-Enchill, a member of the Clare Ents committee, said that Clare had been suffering this term. He told The Tab: “We’re not enjoying the same level of attendance as our predecessors did.

“Last year, there was consistently a solid group of 60 or more Clare freshers every single Friday, which meant that it never looked too empty. This year we’re lucky if we get a dozen of our own freshers down, which causes a vicious cycle because then it looks empty so people from other colleges are more reluctant to come down.”

Clare Cellars looking particularly empty

Clare first year and NatSci student Charlotte Searle agreed with Bentsi-Enchill, saying: “Too many freshers just haven’t been bothered to go to ents – if people from the college itself aren’t willing to go the short distance to their own bar, it’s difficult to encourage anyone to come from different colleges.”

Queens’ have also found themselves in a similar position. Queens’ Ents President Alex Worthington told The Tab: “Attendance is markedly down on Michaelmas.”

The low attendance has taken it’s toll. Bentsi-Enchill said: “We’ve made a substantial loss this year overall, but have managed to stay afloat by cutting many of our costs.”

Similarly, Worthington said the low attendance has forced Queens’ to rethink how they operate events. He told The Tab the low attendance “has not gone unnoticed within Queens’,” and said the fellows are working “with Queens’ Ents to ensure a sustainable operating model.”

Why the ents have been suffering remains unclear. Clare and Queens’ have both been advertising their events just as much as in the past, and Clare have in fact increased their publicity budget.

Bensti-Enchill said that new club nights could play a part. He said: “This year Thursday’s Fuzzy Logic at The Place is the biggest night of the week for a lot of people, which means that a lot of people are nursing serious hangovers on the Friday.”

Worthington agreed, telling The Tab: “I suppose [lower attendance] can only be expected with not only increased academic pressure but the wealth of other events offered to students.”

First year Queens’ student Matthew Benton said that for him it was a question of cost. He said: “Eight bops a term at £5 each adds up to a lot of money.”

Perhaps Queens’ and Clare should take a leaf out of Emma Ents book, who’ve done their best to keep costs down this term. Jake Alden-Falconer, who runs the events, told The Tab: “This term Emma Ents lowered the entry fee (depending on the artist) to as low as we possibly could. In January, we held a ‘Winter Sale’ for £1/£2 entry which was very popular.”

But whatever the cause of the recent decline, just a small increase in numbers is needed to change the fortunes of both ents. Bentsi-Enchill said: “We’ve calculated if we had (on average) an extra 20 people through the door each night we would’ve made a healthy annual profit so our future prospects aren’t looking too bad.”

The next Clare Ent is tonight with JackLNDN. See the Facebook event HERE.

The next Queen’s Ent is a silent disco on Sunday. See the Facebook event HERE.