Trinity May Ball

Read the Tab’s verdicts on Monday’s May Balls at Trinity, Jesus and Clare.

alphabeat champagne May Ball PUNTING Trinity Trinity College trinity may ball wheatus

Click on the link for our coverage of Jesus and Clare.  

Trinity May Ball was always going to be controversial. At £240 per double ticket, it certainly wasn’t a cheap affair, and many people will inevitably make the usual, tenuous complaints: the queue was too long, the food was below par and the ball didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it. But, I am not many people. The queue was well managed, the food was delicious and the ball certainly surpassed my expectations, despite some rather odd headline acts.

I say odd; I’m not entirely sure that’s quite the word I’m looking for. Alphabeat were fun; the ABBA UK tribute band were an ABBA UK tribute band; and Wheatus were definitely odd. They clearly recognised that Teenage Dirtbag is their only hit, and so they played an extended version of it, which somehow managed to last a good 15 minutes. The short rap that provided an interlude between the audience drunkenly slurring the lyrics and Wheatus’ main man more coherently slurring the lyrics was ambitious at best. But, shameful as it may be, I thoroughly enjoyed the set: drinking champagne and watching a Cindies classic live was simply priceless.

This year, though, the brilliance of Trinity May Ball did not lie in the music. If there’s one thing that everyone will be talking about, it’s the fireworks. As punts gathered on the Cam, and guests gathered on the banks of the Cam, anticipation built. And then the fireworks began. What followed can only be described as 20 minutes of pure excellence. The display was perfectly timed, the music apt and the experience simply magical.

Of course, all the old favourites were on offer. Punt tours were regular, the Venetian Masquerade was beautiful, the Champagne never ran out, and Oysters, handmade chocolate truffles and delicious cheeses were plentiful. The fairground involved candyfloss and dodgems, catering for the more excitable among us, whereas the chillout tent offered warm drinks and acoustic music for those of us more inclined to relax in the early hours of the morning.

In a way, though, we expected the old favourites. We would have complained bitterly had the punt queue been too long to bother with, or had the champagne prematurely ran out. In fact, we did complain bitterly when the exquisite gin ran out and Gordon’s started being used. But, it was more the intricate details and small touches that made Trinity May Ball a night to remember. Instead of balloon decorations, flower arrangements festooned the College; tents were heated; dance floors were lit and a cocktail bar and jazz band accompanied the casino. It was these small touches that made the ball so special, and made it so easy to understand why Vanity Fair apparently named Trinity May Ball the 3rd best party in the world.

The only complaint that can be made was that the queue to enter the comedy tent was exceedingly long, and so I missed out on some great comic acts. However, the abundance of alternative entertainment meant that I was hardly short of things to do. Somewhere between my fifth elderflower martini and American waffle breakfast, I think I realised just how lucky I was to be at Trinity May Ball. It was truly spectacular.

Expensive? Yes. A bit pretentious? Maybe. Worth it? Without a doubt.

Food and Drink: 

Wow Factor:

Value for Money:


Star Attraction: Fireworks

Biggest Turn Off: Comedy Tent Queue