RIP: The LCR?

What’s happened to our favourite club?


Is the LCR is officially dead? Last Saturday, The Tab paid a visit to UEA’s favourite club night, the A-List at the LCR, for what promised to be a classic night out. In the wake of the #burgergate scandal, however, the Union has made a series of changes which have rendered the LCR a mere shadow of its former self. At least one student was seen openly weeping – presumably mourning the death of this formerly glorious institution, but many others have taken to Twitter and Facebook to complain.

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Getting into the LCR on Saturday night was a complete nightmare. Before their feet could even touch the sticky floor, hundreds of students were forced to wait for upwards of an hour in the cold, in a queue which was so inhospitable that it quickly became a crowd crush of pushing and shoving. Unconfirmed reports suggest that at least one student fainted during the queuing, and it unclear how many other minor injuries resulted from the crush. In an attempt to calm the queues, some of the bouncers began to inform students that tickets had sold out, causing confusing at the front, however tickets were still available for some time afterwards.

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Perhaps the biggest controversy of the night was the relocation of the much loved smoking area from the steps to a much smaller enclosed area between The Hive, the Dean of Students, and the Library. Many students still fondly remember the ticket system which existed up until its recent abolition, and whilst it is true that the system was easily exploited and that ticket sharing/resale of tickets/getting in for free was fairly commonplace, this never detracted from the atmosphere. Despite this, the switch to stamps was recognised as practical especially considering the Union’s ever tightening budget. In a completely unnecessary and highly unpopular move, though, the Union has taken this a step further by changing the system yet again, this time forcing clubbers into a tightly enclosed cage with limited shelter from the weather – especially noticeable during Saturday night’s heavy rain.

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Linked to this is the new policy which declares that students will no longer be able to come and go from the LCR during the night. In the past, under the ticket regime, students were handed tickets on the way out to the smoking area by a bouncer, and then exchanged them for re-entry later on. This enabled students the freedom to smoke for as long as they liked anywhere they liked, go for a walk, go somewhere more private, chat to friends who were not clubbing, and generally the sort of freedoms which most people would assume to be logical. Indeed, even the clubs in town offer customers the right to enter and exit as they please, albeit via a stamp system. For whatever reason, however, it has been decided that this is not acceptable, and since the smoking area is now completely enclosed the level of freedom has been reduced to a few mostly unsheltered square feet.

Reporters from The Tab personally experienced problems when trying to leave on Saturday. The back door, formerly the entrance to the smoking area, completely denied re-entry to anybody and The Tab was only able to gain freedom from the front door after pretending to be freshers who had left money at their flat! Later reports from fellow students confirmed that re-entry had been refused to a large number of people. In a recent statement from the LCR itself, organisers claim that the changes are here to make “our evening events more secure and safe for those who attend them.” To what extent is this achieving that, though, and how far is it simply trying to fix something which isn’t broken? The Tab emailed a union officer for an official response, but received no reply. The Union have since released a statement.

The questions raised by the recent changes to the LCR are clear. Why? Why has our favourite club night, well known and well loved for its liberal attitude and relaxed atmosphere decided to completely destroy its character and redesign itself by removing some of its most popular features? The #burgergate scandal has already caused significant backlash and demonstrated a distinct lack of accountability, and now the Union appears to be trying to micromanage the movements of those in the smoking area, whilst failing to cater for the crushed masses in the queues. Where do their priorities lie? Is our Union still capable of organising a piss-up in a brewery/the LCR, or are these steps simply a further erosion of what used to be the most popular student night in Norwich? Most importantly, where is the accountability and what will they do next?

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What do you think of these changes? Is the LCR ruined forever? Let us know in the comments section!