On the dancefloorMaia Walker with permission for Varsity

A few days ago, I was brainstorming ideas for an article on entering my “grandma era”. However, I put it on pause when the opportunity to review ArcSoc Cabaret: Treasure Bin cropped up, deciding that I didn’t have to succumb to fourth-year exhaustion just yet. Ignoring the fact that my initial motivations for going may have been the free reviewer’s ticket and the opportunity to say: “I’m on the guest list,” I had heard good things about ArcSoc. My housemates were pretty avid attendees, so I’d waved them off in their funky futuristic fits a few times. But this was my moment to experience it for myself …

“ArcSoc is a breath of fresh air”

First step: costume. Publicised on Instagram with exquisitely crafted collages, the event called for guests to design an outfit on the axis of trash to treasure. Opting for trash, my friends and I found ourselves at pre-drinks among a barrage of flying bin bags, sellotape, and scissors, as we each attempted to embellish our outfits with some trash-themed decor. Bin bag tops, waistcoats, trousers, skirts, shawls and bandanas all emerged, albeit of varying levels of success … So, while my limited artistic ability unfortunately prevented me from constructing anything too outlandish, ArcSoc managed to inspire an entirely new and unconventional pre-ing experience.

Maia, ready to hit JunctionPippa Wonders/Maia Walker with permission for Varsity

Following a short wait in a long but fast-moving queue – the perfect opportunity for admiring everyone else’s outfits and make-up efforts – we entered the venue (this time, the event was at Junction). The ground floor was wide and spacious, with enough room to move around, but a packed and pulsing dance floor. The DJ station was positioned upon an elevated stage, beneath a huge 3D hanging collage of the ArcSoc logo – which, granted, I initially thought was a fidget spinner – and in front of a twisting, psychedelic projection. The room was illuminated by blues, reds, pinks and oranges, and decorations hung from the ceiling. When we ventured to the upstairs room, we were first met with an adorned silver tunnel – an ode to the treasure side of the theme, no doubt. While smaller, upstairs was no less buzzing with energy or people. My only request would be for the two floors to turn the aircon down a bit!


Mountain View

No more pledges of impossible self-improvement, please! Let’s not resolve to be better in 2023

On both levels, the crowd clearly loved the music (though some people needed a subtle reminder that you can dance without shoving everyone around you … ) Personally, I don’t have much experience with electronic, house or techno music (only one failed night-out in Berlin this summer), so I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, I had a continuously great time, particularly enjoying GARY&ED, who had us all glued to the dancefloor throughout their 12 till 2 set. And not only did all the DJs provide many a banger but, as Gary mentioned when I chatted to him after his set, it’s great that these DJs are students, given their platform by ArcSoc.

Here we arrive at my disbelief that this club night was organised by a student society. It really did feel – as do their website, Instagram and, from what I can see, their other events – professionally organised. Plus, all the profit goes towards their end of year exhibition. So honestly, kudos to them! There is definitely something to be said for architect efficiency.

ArcSoc is a breath of fresh air, a club night different to most other options in Cambridge. And while I don’t plan on entirely disavowing my Britney Spears bop sessions, with great music (yes, even for those not typically inclined to techno) and some absolute, as my housemates would say, slay vibes, I would certainly recommend ArcSoc to anyone looking for a good Cambridge night-out.

So, one final question remains. ArcSoc: is it trash or treasure? I would classify it as a treasure to the Cambridge clubbing scene – perhaps it’ll even keep me out of my grandma era for a little while longer.