Girton Spring Ball

OSCAR WILLIAMS-GRUT is wowed by Girton’s fairytale Spring Ball, complete with swings, sushi and Sailor Jerry’s.

ball discoland fairytale girton Hogwarts May Ball nick grimshaw party spring ball sushi teddy bears willy wonka

Once Upon A Storytime

16th March 2012, £89

Go to Girton Spring Ball. Seriously, do it. Go pester your Girton friends for a ticket to next year’s, or go and make Girton friends if you don’t have any. 

Spring/Snow balls always struck me as the silver medal to May Balls’ gold, but last night Girton was as shining a nugget as anything May Week can muster.

I’d never been to Girton before last night, but from the first moment I joined the queue I was impressed. The fairytale theme worked perfectly with the setting, with the towering column of Girton’s entrance conjuring visions of Narnia.

The illusion continued once inside, with an oversized ‘Once’ lurking in the bushes. A projection onto a building in Cloisters Court made the building shift and swirl and at times be occupied by spectral dancers.

In Woodlands court, the simple idea of putting coloured lights in students’ windows across the court worked wonders, while a huge boat swing, which looked like it was “held together with hope” according to one friend, provided the seat-of-your-pants entertainment that childhood is all about.

Inside, the building came alive. Strobe and strip lighting along the floors of corridors gave them a hallucinogenic and kaleidoscopic effect, like Wonka’s wondrous boat ride. In Discoland (Hall), polystyrene clouds hung from the ceiling, while projections of the night sky above mimicked Hogwarts. Even small details like blocking off stairs by covering them with teddy bears showed fantastic creativity.

Often the committee didn’t need to do much to make the surroundings special. The old library, used for tarot readings and fortune telling,already looked incredible and the cheese and fruit spreads in the fellows lounge, along with various string and brass quartets throughout the night, made the room feel like the drawing room of the Titanic.

But enough about what it looked like, what about the food? What about the enterta

inment? What about the booze?

Across the board the committee gave incredible value for money. Hungry? How about some Sushi, or Paella, or a Hog Roast, or Mussels in white wine sauce? Yes, mussels in white wine sauce.

Want a drink? Sailor Jerry’s rum and Hendrick’s gin were on hand with stands to whet your whistle, while Cambridge’s very own River Bar were making some of the most delicious cocktails you’ve ever had, including the Dark n’ Stormy, made with 3-year-aged Havanna rum. One of those alone would set you back a tenner in the real world. But it wasn’t the real world, it was a fairytale!

But there were some downsides. The entertainment was good but didn’t shine. Not many had heard of headliner Loick Essien, and though he gave a good performance he didn’t have the star quality needed.

Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw was also a bit of a disappointment. His set of R’n’B and rap classics went down well, but iTunes could have done a better job mixing – do we really need to hear the first half of ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’ twice in a row?

The student entertainment on the other hand was fantastic. Itchy Feet had crowds grooving in Discoland while DJs in the dance tent had guests dancing until dawn.

If I had to pick holes, the queues for food and drink were too long initially, the Hendrick’s stand ran out disappointingly early around 11.30 and the comedy was inaudible to anyone but the first few rows.

But there was plenty else to keep people busy: photo booths, acoustic rooms, a helter skelter, dodgems… the list goes on.

The whole night was a success. There was always more to explore, more to see and more to do. As I said before, go to Girton Spring Ball. Seriously, do it.

Food and drink:

Value for money:

Wow factor:

Star Attraction: The whole place looked fantastic

Biggest turn-off: Nick Grimshaw’s terrible DJ tekkers