[Brad Johnson | Deputy Editor]
For many students here at the University of Hertfordshire, the Forum Hertfordshire is the usual haunt for night outs and socialising with friends, but it has not always been that way. Long before The Forum was built, the standard night out was in The Font; now home to the Hutton Hall and Hertfordshire Students’ Union College Lane office. However, in 2009, the Students’ Union revolutionised it’s commercial services by opening The Forum (now known as The Forum Hertfordshire).
The brand new addition to campus facilities cost around thirty-eight million pounds and quickly became a focal point for the student community enhancing both the local entertainment facilities but more importantly, the student experience.
Professor Tim Wilson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire at the time of opening said: “We are the biggest investor in student facilities in the UK and the Forum shows our continued commitment to enhancing the student.”
Now celebrating its 5th Anniversary, The Forum Hertfordshire has become part of the life of many of the students at Herts. From hosting the annual Freshers’ Fair to being home to numerous society events, the venue has become universally used by nearly all groups at the university.
Lee Welsh, Events and Entertainments Manager of the Forum Hertfordshire, and previously The Font said: “Its totally next-level compared the old venue. The Forum is pretty much un-rivaled by any other university venue in the UK. The font was pretty typical, hot, sweaty, cramped and much smaller, however, we all loved it and still miss it!”
The Forum Hertfordshire has also seen it’s fair share of special appearances over its five years of trading. Most notably was in January 2011, when the Forum hosted its X Factor event. One Direction was confirmed as headliners; this was a rare opportunity that really put The Forum on the map.
At the time, Director of Engagement and Communications, Rebbeca Hobbs stated that: “One Direction are only doing a couple of pre – X Factor Tour shows and we’re honoured that they’ve chosen the Forum Hertfordshire.”
Along with the now global superstars, One Direction, The Forum Hertfordshire has also played host to will.i.am, Ellie Goulding, Example and Rizzle Kicks. Notably, The Forum Hertfordshire has been marked into music history after the venue featured heavily in Ed Sheeran’s top five track, Lego House music video in 2011. Following this, in 2014, Sony filmed part of the Playstation 4 advertisement at the venue which allowed 1200 students’ to see Tinie Tempah headline the auditorium for free.
Brittany Melly, Assistant Entertainments and Events Manager, who joined the team in August 2013, explained why she wanted to join the team at the venue: “I was totally blown away with the venue, and knew straight away that this was where I wanted to work. I couldn’t think of a more impressive student venue in the country.”
There is no doubt that the students of the University of Hertfordshire really do get the best venue to spend their evenings. The venue is open nearly every night for student club nights including the national chain of club nights, Flirt!, which took home the ‘Best Regular Club Night’ Award.
The Forum Hertfordshire often sees success amongst its peers in the Students’ Union commercial sector, taking home many ‘Best Bar None’ awards each year. At the time of writing, The Forum Hertfordshire has been nominated for ‘Best Campus Venue’ at the National Live Music Awards, an award that the venue has come runner up to for the last two years.
James Bowers, former VP Union Development (now Democracy & Services), the elected officer responsible for the Forum Hertfordshire emphasised the importance of student views: “I used to love going along to the various club nights, to find out what students wanted and make sure this was relayed at union meetings.”
Today, 5 years on, in a Trident Media exclusive, we can reveal that back by popular demand following a sell out Smirnoff Saturday in the last academic year, Cascada will take to The Forum Hertfordshire on the Friday 21st November 2014.