Ents team in bitter war of words

Trinity’s Entertainments Officer Nick Longworth has been strongly criticised in the wake of Freshers’ Week following Dave Byrne’s resignation from the Ents team.

Trinity’s Entertainments Officer Nick Longworth has been strongly criticised in the wake of Freshers’ Week following Dave Byrne’s resignation from the Ents team. Byrne – who narrowly lost to Longworth in this year’s Student Union election was a key member of last year’s Ents team under Ed O’Riordan. Longworth hired Byrne to help in the production of gigs and club nights during the week. Byrne resigned on the Wednesday of Fresher’s Week because of his dissatisfaction with Longworth’s management of events.

Byrne spoke to Trinity News about what he felt was a series of errors on Longworth’s part. Byrne felt that his own position on the Ents team had become untenable. He said that although Longworth was “doing his best” he was “making very basic errors”.

Byrne claimed that a number of the key events of Fresher’s Week were run poorly, due to Longworth’s inability to implement itineraries for events which Byrne had drawn up for each event. Byrne claimed that ticket-paying punters were not admitted to venues, bands were left without adequate sound systems for gigs, and a substantial amount of Student Union money had been spent needlessly. Furthermore, he felt he did not receive enough support from Longworth in dealing with the problems that arose. Longworth claimed that the week’s events ran smoothly.

Dave Byrne said Longworth made errors on the first night of Freshers’ Week. The ‘Free Gaff’ party, advertised for The Hub, in fact took place in Transformer. Byrne claimed that the 200-person-capacity venue could have proven to be too small, given the number of Freshers’ Week ‘package-deal’ tickets sold. Five hundred people were entitled to attend through this ticket scheme. Longworth said this would not have been a problem as the bar upstairs was also available to ticket holders.

Byrne described a number of problems with the night Fallout club night at Redz. He claimed that Niall Morris, promoter of the Redz niteclub, was unaware of the theme of the night – a claim Longworth refutes, saying that he told Mr. Morris that it would be a themed night in advance. Byrne expressed disappointed at the no-show of a Led Zeppelin tribute band, and that the venue was quiet early on in the night. As a result of this, bouncers on duty opened the club to the public. Byrne claimed that because of this some paying ticket holders were refused admission.

Similar sentiment was expressed by Byrne regarding Longworth’s alleged poor organisation of the Traffic Light Ball on the Tuesday night. Byrne said that hundreds of euros were wasted providing flashing traffic lights as part of the theme. The traffic lights were never used. Longworth denies that a substantial amount of money was lost, saying the traffic lights were lent to him by a friend.

Byrne was particularly disappointed that he had to hire DJs “at the last minute” for the Ball- a job he claimed he had designated to Longworth in his itinerary for the night. Byrne said this incident was embarrassing for him personally, and that he realised at that point that he would be unable to continue working as part of the Ents team.

A further point of conflict arose over the Dirty Epics gig in the GMB on the Wednesday. Byrne had been put in charge of the production of this gig and had made preliminary enquiries into booking a sound engineer. However, Longworth booked a cheaper sound engineer without notifying him. Byrne said that Dirty Epics were disappointed with the sound engineer’s equipment and with the management of the gig generally. Byrne claimed he “had to take the brunt”of this.“No matter how hard I tried stuff would still go wrong”

Dave Byrne also expressed concerns about how effectively Longworth promoted some of the more costly events. He pointied to the very low turn out at the ‘Mock Wedding’ event, and also to the failure to advertise a change of venue for the ‘Binocular Soccer’ event. He claimed that both of these events incurred financial losses. Longworth did not deny the losses, but explained that these two events were evening pre-parties that came under a ticket which included admission to the subsequent nights out – both of which he claimed were financial successes. However, Mick Birmingham, another member of the Ents team, said that the Saw Doctors gig which followed the Mock Wedding did not in fact make a profit. “Being Ents Officer is not the kind of job you can learn as you do. Some of Longworth’s decisions were naïve.”

Birmingham said. He said that the Saw Doctors was not a good choice, and that Longworth should have paid heed to the initial rejection of large colleges societies in collaborating with him for the gig.

Despite his resignation during Freshers’ Week, Byrne was keen to emphasise that he will show support for Longworth in the coming months. “I think Nick has great ideas and I would like to see him do well” he said.