The 60,000 students at the four universities in Manchester can choose between their own student union venues and the many around town for live music and entertainment.
Sean Morgan, Manchester University Student Union's ents manager, has the job of getting them to patronise the four venues he manages. He concedes that the city's clubs are more enticing than the union's cellar disco, but says students flock to see the steady stream of well-known bands that play at the university throughout the year.
The domination of the student union circuit by touring acts and supports means that a band such as Dumb, whose four members include a Manchester University student and graduate, is excluded from it.
Mark Hoyle, the vocalist and guitarist, says that student unions are taking fewer chances and are offering safe, more mainstream fare guaranteed to attract punters.
He says that students would like to be able to see cutting-edge bands that do not necessarily fit in with current trends.