Over 2000 students receive prank ‘syndrome’ letter saying they can’t attend exams

Festival organisers delivered the letters in anti-contamination gear. INLS 20-753-CON
Festival organisers delivered the letters in anti-contamination gear. INLS 20-753-CON

Promoters of a popular summer festival in Limavady are behind a large-scale prank informing students they have come down with a contagious disease and will not be able to attend their exams.

Over 2,000 students across Coleraine, Londonderry and Belfast campuses received the ‘Stendhal Syndrome’ correspondence.

The Stendhal Festival organisers delivered the letters in an anti-contamination suit and there was a fake doctor present on the Belfast and Coleraine campuses to inform students face-to-face that there was a medical emergency and an outbreak on campus.

Ross Parkhill, festival CEO, said: “We know exam time can be stressful for students and we thought they deserved a bit of fun to lighten up their day. We know students are planning for festival season and students loans are running out so we thought we would cut them some slack.”

Neil Moore, a 23-year-old design student, quipped: “I was so surprised when I got my letter I thought that I really wouldn’t have to do my exams which would have been great because I haven’t put in that much revision. If I came down with something contagious it would nearly be a blessing!”

Stendhal syndrome, the festival organisers point out is a real syndrome: It is also known as hyperkulturemia is a psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art.

Downpatrick rockers ASH and Irish folk hero Sharon Shannon are among the artists confirmed for the August event at Ballymully Cottage Farm.

There was a free pair of tickets worth £150 in one of the letters - so if you haven’t opened yours then check your letter box!