Queens’ May Ball

TALIA RICHARD-CARVAJAL gets her money’s worth from classy food and drink, despite a disappointing headliner.

Bombay Bicycle Club May Ball Queens' Queens' May Ball Talia Richard-Carvajal

21st June 2011, £140

I joined what was still a reasonable queue at 7.30pm in anticipation of Queens’ eccentric 8.47pm start. There was no queue entertainment, other than a shoe shiner. Luckily this was not an issue since the queue moved quickly, and the blue skies held out.

The efficiency of the queue management was a good thing, as the main support act, Alex Clare, had to start his set at 9.45pm because of noise restrictions. For everyone who made it in in time he gave a fantastic performance that was very well received. His stellar set somewhat outshined the main act, Bombay Bicycle Club, who were greeted with excitement by long-standing fans, but were a little disappointing to everyone else. They also seemed like a poor choice given Queens’ reputation for providing new, up and coming artists.

Despite this, the other smaller acts were fantastic. Ollie Benga and Breakage both worked up quite a crowd, and the silent disco was packed throughout the night.

The committee seem to have picked their battles. Rather than trying to compete with John’s and Trinity on ents, they put a huge focus on the catering and really outdid themselves. The food felt congruous to the event; rather than burgers and pizza, there was an oyster bar, paella, nitrogen ice cream, and plum and red wine infused jelly. It felt suitable for a black-tie event, something which cannot be said of many balls. Furthermore, most of it was still being served through the night with only the jellies running out early. The alcohol was equally classy with a Hendrick’s gin bar and the all-important champagne, which lasted through to the survivors’ photos.

It did feel a little soulless with a lack of decoration and lighting. In fact it was fairly unclear what the theme was at all. The little decoration there was, was comprised of some hand drawn posters with the names of the seven deadly sins awkwardly placed on the sides of marquees. But they made good use of the college’s natural beauty, relying on the buildings of cloister court to create the ambience, and it was laid out well enough to be able to walk between courts without queues, and with food, drink and entertainment to be found in each area.

Overall, you felt like you were getting value for money from the food and alcohol alone. This combined with Laserquest, dodgems and some well chosen DJs and performers made for a fantastic ball that lived up to its past reputation.

Food and Drink:

Wow Factor:

Value For Money:

Star attraction: Food and drink

Biggest turn-off: Fireworks (right before John’s)