The biggest event of the ANUSA O-Week brought together students from all across campus for a final night of merrymaking. Almost 3000 students flocked to the Purple Haze Party at its new location of Fellows Oval to watch the four headliners perform.
Friday Night Party Director, Michael Liu, said, “One of the main things this year was to try to change the perception that it’s a concert and more of a music festival… I really wanted to increase the production value and the actual quality of the whole experience.”
However issues with ticketing and the wait time for alcoholic beverages hindered the expensive but mostly successful event.
The tablets supplied by QPay, the ticketing company hired by ANUSA for the event, were unable to connect to the ANU Wi-Fi network. Fortunately, QPay had also developed a backup system that didn’t rely on Wi-Fi and this was used, avoiding major entry issues.*
Partygoers seemed to enjoy the overall event but complained of lengthy waits for alcohol.
ANU Student, Ian Lim, said, “The musical acts were awesome but we waited in line to get drinks for about an hour or two and then we get there and they only have three drinks available.”
Similarly, ANU student, Aaron*, said, “British India was so so good… but the [drinks line] is really crap. Toga did it way better; they had three drinks line. I have been standing here for 30 minutes and I am missing All Day for this.”
ANUSA have previously outsourced to Mooseheads or Mesh but it was decided that the ANU Union Bar would manage alcohol sales for this year’s Purple Haze Party.
“The [Bar Manager] thought that three bars, 12 staff was enough. Obviously in hindsight, it probably wasn’t enough. He did run the numbers by me but I wasn’t going to pretend I had expertise in knowing how many people used how many bars,” said Liu.
The Party Director also attributed the long queues of people to cheap alcohol. “We weren’t doing festival prices, we were doing prices better than what they’re actually at the bar now.”
Despite these mishaps, the Purple Haze Party was well received by most students.
“It’s been really chilled and stand around with a couple of friends and have a good dance and really enjoying it”, said Emma*, an ANU student.
The budget for the Purple Haze Party was approximately $135,000. “Because we’re using student funds, the first and second release to ANU students was subsidised by ANUSA so that’s why we always run at a loss. But we did better than last year so can’t complain,” said Liu.
The Pro-Vice Chancellor of Student Experience, Richard Baker, commended ANUSA and the Residential Committees for the running of O-Week events.
“I attended both the Toga and Purple Haze events this year and was impressed by the efforts the student organisers in both cases went to provide a safe night out for patrons. I also applaud the amazing work Red Frogs did at both events to assist,” said Professor Baker.
Jackie Noller, State Coordinator of Red Frogs, also spoke well of ANUSA. “They’ve done such a good this week at catering for lots of different personality types, not just the people who want to come and drink.”
*Editor’s Note (17/04/2015): An earlier version of this article did not attribute the development of the backup system to QPay. This article has since been amended to correct this. We apologise for this error.