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Published on March 19th, 2012

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PLACE REVIEW: The Grand Academy

By Catherine Moore

Walking through the yellow gates to criss-crossed lights illuminating steam-punk imagery and design inspired by Gulliver’s Travels, the Grand Academy of Lagado located at City West Campus really was a feast of the senses.

Great banners of strange line art billowed from the railings, and cardboard cut-outs of steam-punk inventions covered the east wall of the City West courtyard inviting participants to take silly photos. (Well I’m not sure on the majority, but I certainly did, although they will never see the light of day.)

As I walked inside the walled area of the Student Lounge it reminded me of a Mexican drug den with all its palms and cardboard chairs, with All Night Girls performing their smooth indie pop to an energetic audience.

The Grand Academy of Lagado was a threeweek event featuring comedy, cabaret, theatre and music, and I attended the World’s Biggest Pub Crawl launch as part of it.

Admittedly I missed The Grand Academy of Lagado’s opening night (I was in a Fringe play of my own), but I heard it was a spectacular event with more than 2000 people attending the tantalising soiree of entertainment, food and drink.

Rachael, a UniSA student from Ceduna, brought her friends along to the event.

“It’s pretty cool. It’s a great atmosphere…we’re just sitting back, talking and having fun,” she said.

Atendee Rob Pickering agrees.

“It’s awesome. Totally blown away. I wish I was back here studying; it makes me feel like coming back and enrolling. The music is great.”

International student Jennifer Markham said it was the “best pub crawl outside of the United States” she had ever been to.

Even St John Ambulance volunteers Adam Gregus, Kathy Doult, Darrel Zeuner, Martyn Hollands and Sam Maddock were impressed at how the night went.

“It’s the best event I’ve been to. The staff have been nice and everyone’s well behaved and people are drinking reasonably,” Kathy said.

By the release of this issue, though, the Grand Academy of Lagado will have come to a close, so what can students expect from the venue in the future?

UniLife said it wants ‘The Academy Live’ to continue because it’s been a wonderful success so far.

“Monday to Thursday we want people to come in and have fun, have a beer, watch some TV, play some pool, listen to some tunes – to have a place in which to be on campus and be comfortable and have a good time,” UniLife Clubs and Off-Campus Events Manager Andrew Hassam said.

“On Fridays we’d like to have a pub in relationship with Soundpond who are providing us with DJs which we’ll upgrade to full bands when we’ve got a few.”

Andrew is hoping media and arts students get on board in showcasing their musical and artistic talents throughout the year via The Academy.

“We love it that we’ve got so many wonderful, dedicated students that can provide us with live, acoustic, loud bands, and have them perform on a regular basis.

“But the main idea is that we need to get the university students coming to their bar and they can come in any time that they want and have a good time.”

The Academy is open to students Monday-Wednesday from 12-8pm, and on Fridays from 12-late with special performances on Saturday in the future.

You can see more Lagado pictures at unilife.edu.au.

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