‘Naff and tawdry’: How the Uni branded Christmas celebrations

Oxford Mail: ‘Naff and tawdry’: How the Uni branded Christmas celebrations ‘Naff and tawdry’: How the Uni branded Christmas celebrations

THE city’s Christmas event has been scaled back after complaints from Oxford college staff that it was “naff and tawdry”, a report has revealed.

The three-day celebration last year saw St Giles closed for a Christmas market and lantern parade which drew in 100,000 visitors and a £1.8m boost to the city economy.

But Oxford City Council last month announced no roads would be closed this year following complaints.

Complaints came from St John’s, Balliol, St Cross and Jesus College.

The Christmas Lights will now be switched on before the three-day event in November and activities are planned for Gloucester Green.

The council report into last year’s event has revealed some of the complaints from Oxford colleges.

The document says feedback from colleges at a meeting “strongly criticised the inconvenience caused by the event, in terms of noise levels and duration and perceived restriction of access to their buildings”.

The author wrote: “Some feedback provided by colleges and individuals who identified themselves as working at colleges was critical of “naff” stalls and “extremely poor quality” stage music.”

The report also said suggestions included holding the event “in a venue away from the city centre” or holding “a short parade on one weekday evening without the tawdry funfair”. One academic told the council: “There is serious academic work going on here which has been profoundly disrupted by your event.”

But some students said they had had no problem.

One wrote: “Despite living directly opposite the main stage and having exams coming up, I was very happy with the event – it did not cause any unnecessary disturbance and it was clearly an excellent event.”

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But one insider, who asked not to be named, said: “There will now be no one focal point to the event where people come together.

“Christmas as we have known it in Oxford for many years will now not happen.”

The Green Party in Oxford is now backing a petition calling for the council to reverse its decision to cut the lantern parade which involves schools from the city’s estates.

Green campaigner and Oxford graduate David Thomas said: “Like many other young people, my daughters love the Children’s Lantern Procession and I am determined to convince the council to reverse its decision.”

But the council dismissed a statement from the Green Party claiming it was “currently in discussion to cancel the rest of the three-day event”.

Spokeswoman Louisa Dean said: “We are still in the very early stages of planning this year’s three-day event. Many elements of last year’s successful event will remain like the light theme with school participation as well as engagement with cultural venues.”

Visit ipetitions.com/petition/ petition-for-the-oxford-light-night-festival

Comments (19)

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6:23am Wed 2 Apr 14

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

The document says feedback from colleges at a meeting “strongly criticised the inconvenience caused by the event, in terms of noise levels and duration and perceived restriction of access to their buildings”.


And students of these colleges have NEVER caused residents of Oxford any problems have they.
The document says feedback from colleges at a meeting “strongly criticised the inconvenience caused by the event, in terms of noise levels and duration and perceived restriction of access to their buildings”. And students of these colleges have NEVER caused residents of Oxford any problems have they. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 22

9:43am Wed 2 Apr 14

Puddleglum says...

I'm not sure how the council can justify spending out on this festival when there are cuts being made to essential services elsewhere. If the council has some spare cash left over one year, I can see why they might throw a party, but it is unnecessary expenditure in these cash-strapped times.
I'm not sure how the council can justify spending out on this festival when there are cuts being made to essential services elsewhere. If the council has some spare cash left over one year, I can see why they might throw a party, but it is unnecessary expenditure in these cash-strapped times. Puddleglum
  • Score: -4

10:52am Wed 2 Apr 14

xenarthra says...

Bah! Humbug!
Bah! Humbug! xenarthra
  • Score: 7

11:08am Wed 2 Apr 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

Just goes to prove that Oxford is controlled by University colleges....
Just goes to prove that Oxford is controlled by University colleges.... Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 8

11:17am Wed 2 Apr 14

Az Cowley says...

Thought this was an April Fools story untill I saw it was written on the 2nd. I can't believe the colleges are trying to stop Christmas. Its great for Oxford and kids, and if your vocabulary consists of words such as 'naff' and 'tawdry' in this day and age then surely you are out of touch with the real world and your opinions matters not! Again, it's for kids. And it was over a £1million boost to the council, which justifies the money spent. Its Christmas, we don't want the council to make a decision by a bunch of scrooges!
Thought this was an April Fools story untill I saw it was written on the 2nd. I can't believe the colleges are trying to stop Christmas. Its great for Oxford and kids, and if your vocabulary consists of words such as 'naff' and 'tawdry' in this day and age then surely you are out of touch with the real world and your opinions matters not! Again, it's for kids. And it was over a £1million boost to the council, which justifies the money spent. Its Christmas, we don't want the council to make a decision by a bunch of scrooges! Az Cowley
  • Score: 9

12:29pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Tidkin says...

Typical of the University - why do they think every thing everything has to revolve around them. Oxford's working population does actually outnumber those briefly here to study and they are the ones who really contribute to the upkeep of the city. Why should the ordinary people of Oxford be denied a decent Christmas celebration in the city centre because a few people in the colleges disapprove.
Typical of the University - why do they think every thing everything has to revolve around them. Oxford's working population does actually outnumber those briefly here to study and they are the ones who really contribute to the upkeep of the city. Why should the ordinary people of Oxford be denied a decent Christmas celebration in the city centre because a few people in the colleges disapprove. Tidkin
  • Score: 14

2:46pm Wed 2 Apr 14

mytaxes says...

The Festival of Lights was an idea thought up by our council to make Christmas "more inclusive" so what be surprised by this. I guess most of our councillors in control would be happy to cancel Christmas time to vote them out.
The Festival of Lights was an idea thought up by our council to make Christmas "more inclusive" so what be surprised by this. I guess most of our councillors in control would be happy to cancel Christmas time to vote them out. mytaxes
  • Score: -4

4:37pm Wed 2 Apr 14

EMBOX2 says...

Dear Oxford University

Please build yourself a new city somewhere a long way away, and take your students with you.

Sincerely
EMBOX2
Dear Oxford University Please build yourself a new city somewhere a long way away, and take your students with you. Sincerely EMBOX2 EMBOX2
  • Score: -1

5:50pm Wed 2 Apr 14

King Joke says...

Come on guys, the Christmas thing was hugely disruptive, as St Giles was closed for days. I can't comment on the tawdryness, but I'd be glad if it were cancelled, or maybe scaled back so it could fit into Broad St.
Come on guys, the Christmas thing was hugely disruptive, as St Giles was closed for days. I can't comment on the tawdryness, but I'd be glad if it were cancelled, or maybe scaled back so it could fit into Broad St. King Joke
  • Score: 3

9:20pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Madi50n says...

Ha ha, you've got to love the anti-university comments on this, genuinely funny.

Oh and EMBOX2? The University and the colleges were here long before you and will be here long, long, long after you and your great-great-grandchi
ldren have passed on.

Don't like it? Move.

Personally, I love living in a city that contains one of the best universities in the world, with some of the most beautiful architecture maintained by the colleges, with green spaces the public have free access to provided by the colleges and university. But, hey, I'm not an inverted snob with a stereotyped view of Oxford Uni and its students and a chip on my shoulder.
Ha ha, you've got to love the anti-university comments on this, genuinely funny. Oh and EMBOX2? The University and the colleges were here long before you and will be here long, long, long after you and your great-great-grandchi ldren have passed on. Don't like it? Move. Personally, I love living in a city that contains one of the best universities in the world, with some of the most beautiful architecture maintained by the colleges, with green spaces the public have free access to provided by the colleges and university. But, hey, I'm not an inverted snob with a stereotyped view of Oxford Uni and its students and a chip on my shoulder. Madi50n
  • Score: 5

9:20pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Madi50n says...

Ha ha, you've got to love the anti-university comments on this, genuinely funny.

Oh and EMBOX2? The University and the colleges were here long before you and will be here long, long, long after you and your great-great-grandchi
ldren have passed on.

Don't like it? Move.

Personally, I love living in a city that contains one of the best universities in the world, with some of the most beautiful architecture maintained by the colleges, with green spaces the public have free access to provided by the colleges and university. But, hey, I'm not an inverted snob with a stereotyped view of Oxford Uni and its students and a chip on my shoulder.
Ha ha, you've got to love the anti-university comments on this, genuinely funny. Oh and EMBOX2? The University and the colleges were here long before you and will be here long, long, long after you and your great-great-grandchi ldren have passed on. Don't like it? Move. Personally, I love living in a city that contains one of the best universities in the world, with some of the most beautiful architecture maintained by the colleges, with green spaces the public have free access to provided by the colleges and university. But, hey, I'm not an inverted snob with a stereotyped view of Oxford Uni and its students and a chip on my shoulder. Madi50n
  • Score: 2

10:12pm Wed 2 Apr 14

EMBOX2 says...

Madi50n wrote:
Ha ha, you've got to love the anti-university comments on this, genuinely funny.

Oh and EMBOX2? The University and the colleges were here long before you and will be here long, long, long after you and your great-great-grandchi

ldren have passed on.

Don't like it? Move.

Personally, I love living in a city that contains one of the best universities in the world, with some of the most beautiful architecture maintained by the colleges, with green spaces the public have free access to provided by the colleges and university. But, hey, I'm not an inverted snob with a stereotyped view of Oxford Uni and its students and a chip on my shoulder.
What you probably don't realise is that the University, by wielding so much power (land ownership) is that it pushes the locals out to the margins of the city - the estates, on which no student will ever set foot.

As the Universities expand, they do not keep pace with sufficient housing supply - thus meaning landlords convert houses to HMOs and remove yet more housing from local people.

My partner did her Doctorate here, and I have a great many friends who have passed through the Oxford sausage factory, I also taught rowing for a few colleges, so I am no "inverted snob" my friend.

Finally - you know Carfax Conduit? No? Well you should. Go look it up, and its history - the University & locals not seeing eye to eye is nothing new.
[quote][p][bold]Madi50n[/bold] wrote: Ha ha, you've got to love the anti-university comments on this, genuinely funny. Oh and EMBOX2? The University and the colleges were here long before you and will be here long, long, long after you and your great-great-grandchi ldren have passed on. Don't like it? Move. Personally, I love living in a city that contains one of the best universities in the world, with some of the most beautiful architecture maintained by the colleges, with green spaces the public have free access to provided by the colleges and university. But, hey, I'm not an inverted snob with a stereotyped view of Oxford Uni and its students and a chip on my shoulder.[/p][/quote]What you probably don't realise is that the University, by wielding so much power (land ownership) is that it pushes the locals out to the margins of the city - the estates, on which no student will ever set foot. As the Universities expand, they do not keep pace with sufficient housing supply - thus meaning landlords convert houses to HMOs and remove yet more housing from local people. My partner did her Doctorate here, and I have a great many friends who have passed through the Oxford sausage factory, I also taught rowing for a few colleges, so I am no "inverted snob" my friend. Finally - you know Carfax Conduit? No? Well you should. Go look it up, and its history - the University & locals not seeing eye to eye is nothing new. EMBOX2
  • Score: 6

3:28pm Thu 3 Apr 14

oxfordgirl1974 says...

I'm confused as to why the colleges couldn't just put up with this for 1 day of the year? They're doing nothing for harmonious relations between the university and local people really are they?
Quite honestly, it's just making them look petty and a little bit pathetic.
Next they'll probably be saying that Christmas trees will have to go and there are to be no lights in Oxford City Centre either.
Miserly old gits.
I'm confused as to why the colleges couldn't just put up with this for 1 day of the year? They're doing nothing for harmonious relations between the university and local people really are they? Quite honestly, it's just making them look petty and a little bit pathetic. Next they'll probably be saying that Christmas trees will have to go and there are to be no lights in Oxford City Centre either. Miserly old gits. oxfordgirl1974
  • Score: 3

3:36pm Thu 3 Apr 14

King Joke says...

It was three days and, I reiterate, it was hugely disruptive to town and gown alike. If St Giles had been closed for a cycling event there would be about 50 comments on this story saying how bad it was. Distasteful as we might find the apparent snobbery being expressed in this case, the Uni is actually right.
It was three days and, I reiterate, it was hugely disruptive to town and gown alike. If St Giles had been closed for a cycling event there would be about 50 comments on this story saying how bad it was. Distasteful as we might find the apparent snobbery being expressed in this case, the Uni is actually right. King Joke
  • Score: -3

6:17pm Thu 3 Apr 14

robbo81 says...

Madi50n wrote:
Ha ha, you've got to love the anti-university comments on this, genuinely funny.

Oh and EMBOX2? The University and the colleges were here long before you and will be here long, long, long after you and your great-great-grandchi

ldren have passed on.

Don't like it? Move.

Personally, I love living in a city that contains one of the best universities in the world, with some of the most beautiful architecture maintained by the colleges, with green spaces the public have free access to provided by the colleges and university. But, hey, I'm not an inverted snob with a stereotyped view of Oxford Uni and its students and a chip on my shoulder.
you're on your own then. Screw the uni. They are costing the local economy £1.8m in 3 days. why cos they don't like the noise and think it's tacky. If they don't like xmas, move the college to Iran or somewhere.

and you're ill informed. the town existing before the Uni. I believe the uni is either 12th or 13th century but the town was first settled around the 5th century. yes the uni had about 200 years of being the main draw of oxford but i doubt it could exist without a town. Most students also look at contributing factors before choosing where they will live for the next 3-5 years. Living in a tin pot town consisting purely of a uni won't be on the criteria. If you're good enough for oxford I bet you're also good enough for cambridge, kings, durham, bristol, yale, MIT. get the point? do those towns cancel their xmas celebrations?

oh and as for the architecture maintained by the colleges - do you mean the stuff that is mostly off limits to anyone not a student, with very rare exceptions that is probably now part funded through taxpaying pots like heritage funds etc?
[quote][p][bold]Madi50n[/bold] wrote: Ha ha, you've got to love the anti-university comments on this, genuinely funny. Oh and EMBOX2? The University and the colleges were here long before you and will be here long, long, long after you and your great-great-grandchi ldren have passed on. Don't like it? Move. Personally, I love living in a city that contains one of the best universities in the world, with some of the most beautiful architecture maintained by the colleges, with green spaces the public have free access to provided by the colleges and university. But, hey, I'm not an inverted snob with a stereotyped view of Oxford Uni and its students and a chip on my shoulder.[/p][/quote]you're on your own then. Screw the uni. They are costing the local economy £1.8m in 3 days. why cos they don't like the noise and think it's tacky. If they don't like xmas, move the college to Iran or somewhere. and you're ill informed. the town existing before the Uni. I believe the uni is either 12th or 13th century but the town was first settled around the 5th century. yes the uni had about 200 years of being the main draw of oxford but i doubt it could exist without a town. Most students also look at contributing factors before choosing where they will live for the next 3-5 years. Living in a tin pot town consisting purely of a uni won't be on the criteria. If you're good enough for oxford I bet you're also good enough for cambridge, kings, durham, bristol, yale, MIT. get the point? do those towns cancel their xmas celebrations? oh and as for the architecture maintained by the colleges - do you mean the stuff that is mostly off limits to anyone not a student, with very rare exceptions that is probably now part funded through taxpaying pots like heritage funds etc? robbo81
  • Score: 2

6:40pm Thu 3 Apr 14

King Joke says...

There's no need to cancel Christmas, just don't hold your Christmas party on the city's second busiest bus route! You could celebrate Christmas just as easily on Broad St or at the Castle.

King's could be for or against the celebrations, but you can rest assured TfL would never let the Strand be closed, irrespective of how many millions it raised.

Listen to you all, you've got massive chips on your shoulders and need little excuse to bash the Uni.
There's no need to cancel Christmas, just don't hold your Christmas party on the city's second busiest bus route! You could celebrate Christmas just as easily on Broad St or at the Castle. King's could be for or against the celebrations, but you can rest assured TfL would never let the Strand be closed, irrespective of how many millions it raised. Listen to you all, you've got massive chips on your shoulders and need little excuse to bash the Uni. King Joke
  • Score: 2

9:47pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Madi50n says...

Oh dear Robbi, you can't read can you?

I said the uni was here before Embox, not here first, here before EMBOX. Just repeating it because you obviously didn't understand it the first time. I also said it would be here long after EMBOX, and you & me. Whatever the chips on various shoulders may be, the uni is a massive part of Oxford's history, present & future, if you don't like it, bad luck, it isn't going to change.

As for the Uni making these complaints, it wasn't, it was a few people from the colleges, not the uni, they are 2 different things. Some other people from the same colleges had no problem with it.

Yes, a lot if the architecture is hidden but alot of it isn't and it's all maintained by the colleges and the Uni, want to know what it would look like if the council owned it, take a look at the covered market.

You maybe good enough to get in those other uni's, but Oxford is in the top 5 global universities every single year, why would You go to Bristol uni if you could get into one of the best uni's in the world? Why would you go to MIT to study English?

a lot of people that hate the Uni forget it employs a lot of local people to support them, not talking about the fellows, I'm talking about the scouts, porters, chefs, kitchen staff, assistants, accountants, ICT people, the list goes on. It buys a lot of food, uses local services a lot of people's businesses earn a good living on uni needs, and employ people based on that.

The hate seems to be a tad misplaced, but you go on hating, you obviously enjoy it.
Oh dear Robbi, you can't read can you? I said the uni was here before Embox, not here first, here before EMBOX. Just repeating it because you obviously didn't understand it the first time. I also said it would be here long after EMBOX, and you & me. Whatever the chips on various shoulders may be, the uni is a massive part of Oxford's history, present & future, if you don't like it, bad luck, it isn't going to change. As for the Uni making these complaints, it wasn't, it was a few people from the colleges, not the uni, they are 2 different things. Some other people from the same colleges had no problem with it. Yes, a lot if the architecture is hidden but alot of it isn't and it's all maintained by the colleges and the Uni, want to know what it would look like if the council owned it, take a look at the covered market. You maybe good enough to get in those other uni's, but Oxford is in the top 5 global universities every single year, why would You go to Bristol uni if you could get into one of the best uni's in the world? Why would you go to MIT to study English? a lot of people that hate the Uni forget it employs a lot of local people to support them, not talking about the fellows, I'm talking about the scouts, porters, chefs, kitchen staff, assistants, accountants, ICT people, the list goes on. It buys a lot of food, uses local services a lot of people's businesses earn a good living on uni needs, and employ people based on that. The hate seems to be a tad misplaced, but you go on hating, you obviously enjoy it. Madi50n
  • Score: -3

10:51am Fri 4 Apr 14

The New Private Eye says...

The document says feedback from colleges at a meeting “strongly criticised the inconvenience caused by the event, in terms of noise levels and duration and perceived restriction of access to their buildings”.

Well how about the noise, disruption, the little darlings p!ssing in our gardens and throwing their Kebabs on our doorsteps for half of the year. That really is a nuisance, not 3 days once a year for Christmas. What next banning St Giles fair? I wish for once that our council would stand up to the colleges and tell them to f off if they don't like it.
The document says feedback from colleges at a meeting “strongly criticised the inconvenience caused by the event, in terms of noise levels and duration and perceived restriction of access to their buildings”. Well how about the noise, disruption, the little darlings p!ssing in our gardens and throwing their Kebabs on our doorsteps for half of the year. That really is a nuisance, not 3 days once a year for Christmas. What next banning St Giles fair? I wish for once that our council would stand up to the colleges and tell them to f off if they don't like it. The New Private Eye
  • Score: 0

12:18pm Fri 4 Apr 14

Bon Rurgundy says...

Maybe Oxford City Council can tell the University to stick May Morning up it's ar$e and return the favour...
Maybe Oxford City Council can tell the University to stick May Morning up it's ar$e and return the favour... Bon Rurgundy
  • Score: 5

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