STUDENTS were given the VIP treatment during an out-of-hours shopping trip.
More than 4,000 college and university-goers packed into The Bridges shopping centre for the Student Lock-In.
Organised in co-operation with events company Route 69 and Total Students UK, which has held similar nights in other venues around the country, the night aimed to pull shoppers into the city centre for an evening of retail therapy – with exclusive one-off discounts, drinks and dancing.
Entertainment during the Lock-In focused on local talent, including carnival acts and bands from music venue Independent in Holmeside.
Talent group Code Red excited crowds with stilt walkers who paraded along the malls and handed out sweet treats to visitors.
Drag queen Trixie also strutted her stuff and invited bargain hunters – who queued to get into shops including Schuh, Superdry and Lush – to venture in the city centre’s bars once The Bridges locked its doors at 10pm.
The event, which was held for the first time last year, has been hailed a record- breaking success by organisers from The Bridges, with 4,101 people pre-registering to gain entry to the extravaganza on Tuesday.
Scores more turned up armed with student cards to register and grab a wrist band to enter at 6pm.
Andy Bradley, centre director at The Bridges, said: “Our Student Lock-In was another fantastic night at The Bridges and definitely drew in some massive crowds.
“We had a record number of pre-registrations, and on the night we had double the amount of shoppers come along, making it our biggest and most successful Student Lock In yet.
“Our retailers and the centre management team absolutely loved seeing the students visit the centre, and what became obvious is our local students definitely have what it takes to be top of the style stakes in the North East.”
Last year, there were about 1,900 preregistrations for the Student lock-In.
The success of this year’s event, which also boasted a pop-up bar from Ttonic and a set by DJ Nicola Bear in Topshop is another accolade for Sunderland’s student scene.
In a poll yesterday, the city was ranked 12th best place to live by young people, while London was ranked 15th.