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Blog by: Kirsty

Dartford, Kent. Studying History. Read more

The Music Scene in Cambridge

When I decided to apply to Cambridge, I assumed that I would be sacrificing the experience of student nightlife that I associated with city universities in the rest of the UK. Looking back, it seems slightly pretentious that I thought I would be unique if I got the grades to get into Cambridge yet still preferred going to parties over staying in with a Mozart CD!

It turns out, the vast majority of people here enjoy a regular night out at least once or twice a week. The Cambridge town centre is small, so there are only around 4 or 5 clubs to choose from, but there are also some atmospheric bars, 2 big gig venues, and plenty of college parties to add a little variety from time to time.

Most of the student nights focus on cheap drinks and floor-filling, mainstream tunes. I think it’s hard to deny that you have a different night out here than I was used to at home. I’m used to going out in London, where entry price is high, nightbuses are long, taxis are expensive, but the music is forward-thinking. While I probably sacrifice the latter for 8 weeks in a term, I’ve grown to love the unique pleasures of a uni night out: I can usually find a friend selling discounted tickets, VKs are only £1.50, I’m guaranteed to know at least 20 people in the club, it only takes me 4 minutes to walk home, and – very importantly, though often under-appreciated – I always feel safe.

One of my close friends here studies law, but he also loves DJ-ing in his spare time. He grew frustrated by always hearing the same Rihanna songs on a night out and has started organising his own house/techno club nights twice a term at one of the local venues. To me, it represents one of the great things about Cambridge – it was very easy for him to meet like-minded, passionate and driven people who had an interest in something and were willing to put in the hard work to see it materialise.

His nights have proven a source of variety in my usual weekly clubbing routine. In first year, I got into a bit of a rut of always going to the same venues on the same days of the week and listening to the same songs. While I still think those nights are fun for what they are, I’ve also realised that when you look harder, there are plenty of interesting sights and sounds in Cambridge after-dark – dub, bass, hip-hop, house, jazz, and rock.

But if I’m feeling too lazy to look for something more adventurous – the Cambridge nightlife is a novelty for 8 weeks until I return to London’s epic sound-systems, venues, and prices(!) for the holidays!

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One of the best things about university compared to school, is the fact that my summer holidays are 3 whole months long – plenty of time to catch up on sleep, catch up with friends, and catch up on earning some money! One of the downsides about university compared to school, is that my summer holidays are 3 whole months long – and that’s plenty of time to become very very lazy…

During term time, it’s so easy to keep fit and play sport that I really miss it when I come home. I’m captain of my college netball team and we play in a league against other colleges. It’s been a really fun way to meet girls in other years and subjects at my own college but also to foster a bit of competitiveness against our rivals! I used to play netball at school and, although I was quite good on the team, I didn’t really feel confident enough to trial for the uni team when I first came here. College netball has been a great way for me to keep up a sport that I love, without having to commit lots of hours to training and travelling. Best of all – it’s free!

Uni has been a chance for me to try other sports too. I’ve tried my hand at lacrosse, rowing and tennis in my time here. Most colleges also have a gym – ours only costs £10 to become a member…for life! I’ve also found a new love for yoga – when you only have to go 100m down the road to a lesson (Cambridge city centre is pretty tiny!) then it really felt like there was no excuse not to finally give it a go. I now attend a class every Monday morning before lectures. It’s actually a pretty good hangover cure – my friends and I always go out on Sunday nights but they all insist that a lie-in and a big ol’ bacon and egg sandwich from Market Square are more effective… Hey, who said there wasn’t something for everyone at uni?!

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