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24 September 2014

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SAS Ball

Surfers Against Sewage Ball 2005

Every year, the hard work of SAS and it's members is rewarded with one of the best parties in the entire country. Fantastic live sets from some of Britain's most exciting live bands were topped off with a lavish sprinkling of glitter!

To say that the Surfers Against Sewage Ball was a success would be an understatement. Without a doubt, it was the best event in Cornwall this summer, and reflected the individuality of the campaign - where else would you find 4000 revelers togged up in their finest crystal garments dancing to the sounds of Jelly Jazz and wiggling their knees to The Futureheads?!

The first thing that really hits you when you get into the Ball is the decoration - beautiful flags, a giant iridescent sphere, and glittery stars, fish and octopi everywhere! The scenery was completed by the brilliant outfits of the crowd - there were chandeliers, constellations, champagne fountains, and football teams (Crystal Palace, geddit?), all of whom contributed to the what was no doubt a good week for the glitter industry!

Nikolai of Do Me Bad Things
Nikolai of Do Me Bad Things

Past years at the Ball have seen performances from Faithless, The Darkness and Razorlight amongst others, all of which have been kept a closely guarded secret. Speculation as to who would be playing was rife as the crowd flocked to the stage to await the first band of an expanded line-up - this year, three bands took to the stage!

Suddenly, nine stunningly clad musicians took to the stage - Surrey based nonet Do Me Bad Things opened with 2004's 'Time For Deliverance', taking the crowd by surprise (and everyone loves surprises) with their fusion of Motorhead vs. disco extravaganza! The set also featured debut single, 'Stop Kissing Me', as well as the bass-thumping disco-stomping 'What's Hideous". A high point was seeing diva-esque frontman Nikolai leaping from the stage to try and cavort with a security guard!

Having been unsure as to what I thought of the band on the basis of the singles, their amazing live dynamic (the multi-talented band members switch from instrument to instrument) and brilliantly exciting vocals won me over, they're definitely a contender for the title of best live spectacle, especially with Nicolai's outrageous costume changes!

Barry Hyde of The Futureheads
Barry Hyde of The Futureheads

The identity of the next band was given away by the height of the bassist's microphone - Jaff, towering in his own stratosphere at somewhere over six foot, was joined by Barry, Ross and David, who make up The Futureheads! They opened with fantastic new song 'Areas'. Slightly less organised than some of the songs from their eponymous debut, the song hit you hard in each of your senses (yum, Futureheads!), and made many a mouth drop.

It's indescribable how much fun it is to shout "I am a robot, living like a robot" at volume! They played all the album singles (but unfortunately no 'Park Inn' or 'Banquo' for us), and rarity, 'A Picture of Dorian Gray'. The "oh oh oh oh oh"s of 'Hounds of Love' went down brilliantly, with Ross (who sadly wasn't wearing his glasses) and Jaff leading their respective sides of the audience. Closing with the mighty roars of "touch each other in black and white" from album closer 'Man Ray', the knees of the crowd were left duly wiggled in true Futureheads style.

Josh Lunn in action
Josh Lunn in action

After what seemed to be quite a long changeover, The Subways took to the stage. Opening with next single 'With You', Billy screamed, Charlotte leapt and Josh thrashed his drum kit like there was no tomorrow. They delivered an accomplished performance for a band of average age 19, showing versatility as they switched from quieter numbers such as 'I want to hear what you've got to say' to the unadulterated screams of 'Holiday'.

The crowd were treated to new song 'Clock', about which Charlotte said, "we've never played it like this before", and the set finished with 'Rock'n'Roll Queen', Billy's paean to new fiance, bassist Charlotte-Mary Cooper.

The tent at 4am!
The tent at 4am!

With our ears ringing, the crowd dispersed, to the dancefloor for the sounds of Cornwall's Barnaby Ray Quartet, the dance tent and of course, the bar! The next few hours are something of a blur, the highlights of which were my friend taking me to the dance tent at 4am for some "minimalist techno", the shock of seeing Bez dancing in a non-freaky manner, and being accosted by the Peg Man (don't ask!).

It was an amazing party, with loads of money raised for Surfers Against Sewage, and a lot of glasses raised to such a good night! The bands were fantastic, as were DJs Jelly Jazz, who at 2am turned the dance floor into a frenzied mish-mash of movement! Much of the crowd danced from 9pm to 7am on Saturday morning (surely blister-plaster sales rocketed!) to all manner of music! Scattered round the tent were several party renegades, slowly slipping into their pint glasses, whilst the rest of us shimmied until the early hours in a very shimmery way!

Andy Cummins of Surfers Against Sewage had this to say:

"‘The Crystal Ball marked the 15th anniversary of SAS campaigning for clean and safe recreational waters for everyone.  The Ball is the one night a year SAS stop campaigning and put on the party of the year, and this year was no different.  Beautiful sparkling girls and diamond geezers of every description filled the Ball and as usual and the atmosphere was amazing.  

"Beautiful sparkling girls and diamond geezers of every description filled the Ball and as usual and the atmosphere was amazing!"
Andy Cummins, Surfers Against Sewage

SAS would like to thank all their members who came to the Ball and all those involved in making it happen - SW1 Productions, who worked non-stop for days to bring us another quality event, all the bands, DJs, performers, décor, visuals and production crews who worked for a much reduced fee, our sponsors and suppliers and Mark & Sharon Doble who let us use their fields.

Every penny raised from the event will be used to fund the ongoing work of Surfers Against Sewage.  For further details contact us on 01872 553001 or visit’

last updated: 13/09/05
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