It’s a Saturday night. You’re wearing a new fancy dress costume made up of random items from around your flat. Your face is covered in glitter. You enter the SU, flash your U Card and the ticket you earned with a 10am Sunday morning wake up the week before. Then you descend into the Foundry and enter the cheesy world of a primary school disco, just with teenagers, twenty-somethings and alcohol. 

Pop Tarts used to be a highlight of the student week but, as with everything this year, it’s not going ahead as usual. There will be no more fighting to get up onto the stage. No more being covered with the remnants of a VK as someone yeets it across the dancefloor. And most devastating of all, no more screaming the lyrics to ‘Breaking Free’ at 4am in the morning with someone you vaguely recognise from a lecture. 

But all is not lost. On 19 Saturday September, Bar One hosted Pop Tarts in the garden, where they were playing all the classic throwback tunes from Taylor Swift to Katy Perry in an attempt to maintain the magic of Pop Tarts in these unusual times. The bar not only supplied the alcohol but also Bar One’s famous burgers and selection of pizzas. I know, food at Pop Tarts, is this a dream? 

Obviously, the event followed social distancing guidelines having a maximum of six people seated per table, from up to two different households, and will therefore be unable to fully replicate the Pop Tarts experience, but at this point in 2020 we’ll all take whatever we can. 

And it seems that this event was eagerly anticipated by Sheffield’s students with the two sessions – one in the afternoon and one in the evening – both selling out. But was this just the result of being starved of socialisation for months or a genuine desire to experience this Covid-friendly night out?

Personally, I don’t think that the unique joy of Pop Tarts can be replicated in any way. It’s not the same if you can’t get lost from your friends every two minutes or dish out some drunken advice to a girl you’ve only just met in the toilets. There will be no stumbling back up the hill and stopping off at the Broomhill Friery for some cheesy chips on the way home. And without the chance to meet my one night soulmate as we scream the lyrics to ‘Call Me Maybe’, is it really Pop Tarts? 

Like many Sheffield students, I’m crossing my fingers that 2021 will see the return of Pop Tarts as we know and love it but for now, whilst the country is still at a social standstill, any form of Pop Tarts is better than no Pop Tarts even if it does mean sitting outside Bar One in the cold.

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