The Tab’s definitive guide to this year’s May Balls, now updated with ‘Hit’ and ‘Miss’ sections to help you choose your May Balls.
READ: Tickets Left for details of balls with tickets still on sale.
Theme: ‘Guardians of the Realm’.
Ticket Price: £85. SOLD OUT
Launch Night: Sunday 20th February.
Namedrop: Two Door Cinema Club.
Wow Factor: “The ents in particular I was very impressed with, everything from ball pits, to dodgems, to fairground games and even laser quasar was there.”
It’s a hit: if your bank balance is suffering at the end of term: it still feels like a May Ball, but for less. It’s known for good DJs, and is a way to start May Week with a bang.
Give it a miss: if you want it to be pretty. Robinson is really, really ugly.
Theme: Around the World in 80 Days’.
Ticket Price: £84 single, £159 pair standard still on sale. (Dining – SOLD OUT)
Launch Night: 28th January at Hughes Hall Bop.
Wow Factor: Fantastic food including hog roasts and Peking duck rolls.
It’s a hit: If you want a different crowd and want to get away from undergrad fresher hordes.
Give it a miss: If you need your ball to have a massive headliner or fireworks. Or a river.
Theme: ‘The Planets’.
Ticket Price: £116 standard, £126 VIP, £150 dining. Emma students can purchase tickets from Sunday 6th February, on general sale Sunday 13th February. SOLD OUT
Launch Night: 9pm on the 6th February in Emma Bar.
Namedrop: Rattus Rattus.
Wow Factor: “The music was probably the strongest part of the night for the Emma committee. I spent most of my night gyrating to Drum ‘n Bass trying to forget that I was in a sticky, nautical-themed college bar – and for the most part, did.”
It’s a hit: if you hate the queue. The Emma queue will be in college grounds, with entertainment provided.
Give it a miss: if you’re a snob. Previous years have featured bouncy castles and miniature golf. If you think this sounds tacky, don’t go.
Theme: ‘Orient Express’.
Ticket Price: £118 standard, £134 priority queuing , £153 dining. – SOLD OUT
Launch Night: 27th January 2011 at Kambar.
Namedrop: Sub Focus.
Wow Factor: “The swings and the magnificent carousel, straight out of Mary Poppins.”
It’s a hit: if you want to go with ALL your friends. Jesus is absolutely huge. Classically a freshers dominated ball.
Give it a miss: if you want a quieter night, it’s a popular ball so expect crowds and queuing. Also, you may get lost. Did we mention it’s big?
We hear: that tickets selling out before even going on general sale caused some serious aggro in Jesus bar on the night of the 2nd February.
Theme: ‘The First and Third Trinity Boat Club May Ball’ is their simple description.
Ticket Price: £300 for a pair, or £297 without charitable donation. Trinity students get a tenner off per head. Dining will set you back another £110 per pair. SOLD OUT
Wow Factor: The fireworks – ’20 minutes of pure excellence. The display was perfectly timed, the music apt and the experience simply magical.’
It’s a hit: if you want refined decadence, and you’re a fan of fireworks. Food also tends to be top notch.
Give it a miss: if you’d rather go to a themed ball. Also you’re paying top whack for oysters and truffles and good Champagne, so if that doesn’t interest you, it might not be worth the money.
Theme: ‘Curiouser and curiouser’.
Ticket Price: £125 standard, £155 VIP. On sale midnight 16th February (night of the 15th, morning of the 16th) to Clare students, on general sale March 2nd. SOLD OUT
Launch Night: The launch party is on 15th February 2011 at Hidden Rooms.
Wow Factor: “A toss-up between the stunning decor and the spectacular ents”.
It’s a hit: if you like big ents, Clare has a reputation for great headliners, or if you fancy a big surprise (camels last year). Drunk punting is also excellent.
Give it a miss: if you have poor circulation. Last year there weren’t a lot of indoor spaces to keep warm in when it got to the wee hours.
Ticket Price: £115 standard, £125 Q skip, £135 VIP, £145 Dining. – SOLD OUT
Launch Night: Tuesday 25th January – Toga Baby at Cindies.
Two years ago
Wow Factor: The dodgems. The sausages. Teepees in the fellows garden were a nice touchl. The port and cheese hideout in the SCR was a lovely way to chill out whilst keeping warm in the early hours.
It’s a hit: if you want a big ball, lots of space, great rides, and a relaxed atmosphere.
Give it a miss: if you have expensive shoes (gravel paths = shoe death), you want a posh ball or a big name act.
We hear: that 1750 people will be attending.
Theme: No theme. St John’s are celebrating their 500th anniversary this year.
Ticket Price: SOLD OUT (long, long ago)
Namedrop: Ellie Goulding (The Tab called her “shite”).
Wow Factor: Short queues, great fireworks and the Gentlemen of St John’s singing at 5.15am.
It’s a hit: if unlimited champagne is your thing, fireworks are important to you, and you take joy in the amount of money being spent.
Give it a miss: if you haven’t got a ticket. Which you probably haven’t. Boo.
We hear: in case you haven’t (where have you been?!) that they have an unlimited budget.
Ticket Price: SOLD OUT
Launch Night: Tickets go on sale university wide on 1st February.
Two years ago:
Namedrop: Florence and the Machine.
Wow factor: Dodgems and a whole tent filled only with amazing desserts.
It’s a hit: if you want a big name act. The Klaxons headlined in 2007.
Give it a miss: small courts means it’s not the best venue for a ball.
We hear: The committee has a lot of old hands from two years ago, so we reckon they’re going to know what they’re doing.
Theme: ‘In Technicolour’.
Ticket Price: £76 standard, (£86 Queue Jump) SOLD OUT
Launch Night: Sat 29th Jan, 19:30 at The Union.
Wow Factor: A set by Truly Medley Deeply.
It’s a hit: if you want something unpretentious, colourful, and not too long a night (it ends at 3am). It has a rave rep, so go if you like to party.
Give it a miss: if you get hungry. In previous years food has run out very, very fast.
Theme: The Secret Gardens.
Ticket Price: £110 standard, £150 dining. On sale to Pembroke on the 5th February; the rest of the Uni at midnight on the 13th February. SOLD OUT
Namedrop: Beatbullyz, Filthy Dukes, Truly Medley Deeply, Bijoumiyo.
Wow Factor: A samba band.
It’s a hit: because it’s a good all-rounder, there’s something of everything. Beautiful grounds make it a nice evening to go to as a couple.
Give it a miss: if you want something out of the ordinary.
Theme: It is the Centenary – White Tie only.
Ticket Price: SOLD OUT
Two Years Ago
Namedrop: The Rumble Strips and Scratch Perverts.
It’s a hit: it’s really small so very intimate. Predominantly dining and a white tie dress code means it’s a classy affair.
Give it a miss: if you go to May Balls for the ents: the last really big name was 6 years ago. Don’t expect a rave, the volume levels of the music are kept pretty low.
Ticket Price: £62 for King’s members, £65 for all other students. SOLD OUT
Launch Night: 9pm Saturday 26th February in King’s Bar. Tickets on sale to King’s students 24th February, on general sale at the launch.
Namedrop: Joy Orbison and Logistics.
Wow Factor: Amazing acoustic sessions in King’s Chapel.
It’s a hit: if you want to get really, really drunk, dress up and dance like crazy. Has been described as ‘a massive bop, but better’.
Give it a miss: if you want guarantees that the food and drink will flow all night – there have been problems with shortages for the last 2 years. Or if you’re straight edge – trust me, you won’t enjoy it.
Ticket Price: Standard £105 until end of February, then £110, priority £120, dining £140.
Launch night: 8pm on Friday 4th February at Homerton Bar.
Wow Factor: “The ents; actually, as it passed midnight, there wasn’t much else on, but the sets were definitely fantastic.”
It’s a hit: for a relaxed, friendly evening in huge grounds with a rep for great ents.
Give it a miss: if you want to see a Glastonbury headliner, need the drink to last all night, or have a tendency to throw up in taxis, because you’re going to have to get one home.
Ticket Price: SOLD OUT
Wow Factor: ‘The Baileys fountain was a gorgeous glamourous detail’.
It’s a hit: if you’re looking for a diverse crowd and impressive food, and are looking for an intimate way to end the week with friends. The typical haunt of grad freshers.
Give it a miss: if you are hoping to pull that girl in your lectures you’ve been eyeing up all year. The odds are very, very low she’ll be there.
Theme: ‘Distant Shores’.
Ticket Price: Non-dining ticket is £118, plus a charitable donation of £2 if you wish. – SOLD OUT
Launch Night: 27th January at Hidden Rooms, 8.30pm.
Two Years Ago
Name Drop: The Automatic and Ebony Bones.
It’s a hit: if you want oysters and real champagne without the price of a John’s ticket.
Give it a miss: if you want fairground rides or fireworks.
We hear: for the second year in a row the committee are swapping tickets with JOHN’S. (Why I oughta…). Also their President tells The Tab there will be areas themed as the West Indies, the Far East, the South Seas, the Northwest Passage and that guests will be able to “explore their ship from the Captain’s Cabin to the Cargo Hold.”
Theme: ‘Titanic- an unsinkable night of revelry’.
Ticket Price: £61 standard, £66 Q-jump, £81 dining.
Namedrop: Wolfson Howler.
Wow Factor: the food: ‘plentiful, varied and virtually queue-less…The highlight was definitely the fantastic (and fortunately gigantic) sushi platters served at midnight’.
It’s a hit: if you like to dance, expect some great dance acts.
Give it a miss: the Pres says don’t expect any big names.
Ticket Price: Unknown.
Wow Factor: the food: fairytale themed including a hog roast.
It’s a hit: if you’re a post-grad looking for a proper ball.
Give it a miss: if you want to get down ’til the sun comes up – last year’s event finished at 3.00 am.
Committees – contact firstname.lastname@example.org with more information.