• Aled Vernon-Rees

Jailbreak 2018: The Round Up


Livewire's 2018 Jailbreak was a great success. The event ran by Head of Events Eleanor Martin has raised £11,700 (and counting) for Papyrus: Prevention of Young Suicide and the 19 teams that partook in the 48 hour challenge collectively traveled over 5,000 miles getting away from UEA.

In just 48 hours we had broadcast 33 radio shows, bucketed 2 events, put up 1 glitter stall and played countless songs and games - and that's just at basecamp! Our teams traveled immense distances with the winners Big Deb's Boys making it all the way to Copenhagen. The teams using a wide array of transport from cars to ferries to planes to get to their destination. It was a great experience for everyone involved; some of them sharing their Jailbreak stories and what it meant to them here:

Bonnie and Clyde - Aalborg - 461

Initially, we weren’t sure if we’d even make it out of Norwich. We’d heard that hitchhiking was more difficult in cities, so we decided to try our luck with bus drivers instead. Our plan was to get to Stansted, which by far had the cheapest flights we’d seen on Skyscanner.

The first driver took us all the way to London. Once there we ran across the bus station and hopped onto another free bus to Stansted. Our thank you to the drivers was a bag of crisps; part of 2 boxes we’d been given, compliments of Kettle Chips. But whether we were allowed to travel for free or not was all down to the generosity of the driver, really.

Once we got to Stansted, Eddie had brought a small speaker with him and volunteered to try dancing to busk for money to get a cheap flight. He got €20 from one man, another woman swapped it for a £20 note and suddenly we had enough for 2 £8 tickets to Aalborg, Denmark!!! We’d managed to travel almost 500 miles in less than 24 hours!

Two Boys, One Rucksack - Glasgow - 315 Miles

Admittedly, team Two Boys One Backpack didn’t have the best start to Jailbreak, we spent the first six hours stuck in Norwich. But we learnt it was just a matter of being patient and waiting for the right person. We did initially start off well, racing from The Square at UEA to the nearby Tesco where we got our first lift to the train station. Sadly, we had no luck there, and after successive bus and car trips we ended up at one petrol station on the outskirts of Norwich.

Tired, cold and a little deflated, we went back to campus. It took the support from those at base camp to help us muster the energy and head back to the first petrol station we visited just six hours earlier. Never was I so glad to get in a car with a someone who I had just met before, but this trip was the first taking us out of the city. From there, we rested in Northamptonshire and the next day headed North. We did again get stuck at another service station, which I ambushed a father and son duo leaving the toilet. From there we ended up in Carlisle and raised enough money from St Patrick’s Day pub-goers for the train fare to Glasgow, where we ended our Jailbreak journey.

I certainly won’t forget the stories shared with us over that 48 hour period, and I wholeheartedly recommend the experience to anyone thinking of taking part in Jailbreak next year.

M.O.M - Penzance - 304 Miles

The morning of jailbreak saw my teammate Patricia and I; team Mind over Matter, without any plan but filled with optimism.

Jailbreak truly tests your will power and determination. At some point all seems to go perfectly, with people being supportive and driving us to the airport, only to be turned down and start over again. It is a bumpy journey. The reactions of the people we met during our journey were detrimental to how we felt. Some people eyed us with scepticism and distrust whilst others’ generosity and enthusiasm fuelled us to keep on going!

Spreading the message Papyrus stands for from Norwich to Land’s End was no easy task but the most rewarding experience we have had at Uni. It was inspiring to encounter strangers who would take their time and resources out to help two girls with a bucket, white board and a huge message.

Backpacking around England for two days we saw so much; from the crowds of London to the Ports of Plymouth and lovely people of Exeter, the breath taking view at Land’s End, the constant traveling and exhaustion was worth it! Finally, we returned with a hefty bucket

Cara and Emily's Big Night Out - Frankfurt - 362 Miles

Just ten minutes into Jailbreak 2018 and my team mate Emily and I had already gone in the wrong direction, lost whilst still on the UEA campus. Despite this dodgy start, we managed to make it all the way to Frankfurt, Germany in 48 hours, and raised over £2500 for Papyrus!

One thing that struck us was the endless different possibilities that could have re-routed our entire journey and changed our whole experience. The woman driving the first car we hitched in took us in the wrong direction, meaning we changed our plan and headed for Harwich. We rang local newspapers to tweet out and help us get on the ferry to Holland and one man DMed me and bought us tickets and a cabin. If the woman had gone in another direction, if the man had not checked Twitter that day we would have had a completely different experience. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the beauty of Jailbreak is that you really can’t plan for it and there is something very freeing about having to just rely on the good will of strangers, and boy oh boy did we meet some lovely strangers!

Before we left we had prepared ourselves to be stressed or tired and irritable with each other but it was honestly one of the most relaxed, fun and heart-warming trips I’ve ever taken. All of this combined with the fact that we raised so much money for Papyrus truly restored my faith in humanity and the kindness of people!

Erin Bashford - Basecamp - 0 Miles

Basecamp is all about making entertaining radio, raising money outside the LCR, and cheering on those brave enough to face hitchhiking. And man, was it fulfilling.

Broadcasting on Livewire for 48 hours is also no mean feat. My show is always on a Friday evening, but this week I made it special. With songs that sound best sung from the passenger seat of a car and two interactive fun features, I wanted my show to be brilliant. And whilst I can’t really be the judge of that, I can be the judge of its entertainment value. I got two veteran Livewire presenters, Jacob Simmons and Eleanor Martin (the lovely lady who organised the event) to reimagine ‘Yellow Submarine’, in any style they wanted, and perform them live on air. We got an audience, and it was fantastic.

On the Saturday evening, everyone was getting tired and delirious. I had to stay up for my midnight-1.30am slot that I co-hosted with James Penny, and that’s where things got really fun. Nine exhausted people discussing conspiracy theories on air was unmissable. You know, tracking teams was alright as well.

Two planned shows (and sporadic covers), £10,000, and a McDonalds breakfast later, Jailbreak ended. And what a fun, tiring, and all-round busy time it was.

With the buckets slowly returning to campus the amount raised keeps going up and there's still time for you to donate! If you'd like to help us raise money for Papyrus just follow the link here.

#indiemusic #superorganism #newmusic #albumreview

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