Girton Spring Ball 2014
WILL HEILPERN thoroughly enjoys a superb party, filled with considered decadence and touching subtlety
My only previous experience of Girton College was just one week before the ball, when my college football team was forced to abandon a grubby division six encounter midway through the second half, due to unprecedented levels of unsporting and violent play from a particularly ugly Girton midfield. Having left that Sunday afternoon with the impression that Girton was placed at a considerable distance from the rest of the University for our own well-being, I returned on Friday evening with trepidation.
These emotions were misplaced however, because Girton Spring Ball was a superb party, filled with considered decadence and touching subtlety. The theme – Les Années Folles – was not particularly adventurous but, much more importantly, was excellently executed.
In the outside spaces the ball looked great: bespoke water fountains, a vintage car, an impressively erected helter skelter and vibrant lighting enhanced Girton’s already gorgeous Victorian architecture. Inside, things were even more opulent: my chosen resting area contained luxurious sofas, G&Ts in tea cups and the first macaroons I’ve ever seen outside of Instagram. The drawing room dedicated to fine wine, delicious cheese, and floating bowler hats also looked incredible.
Food and drink at the event was impressively diverse and tasty. The Outback burger stall allowed many to have their first taste of kangaroo, bison and ostrich, though the queues inevitably became long as the night progressed. Other options included a hog roast, tapas, fish and chips, some pretty disappointing sushi, and various sweets. Guests were very well lubricated at the ball. Champagne, Hendricks gin, and frozen Daiquiris lasted until the bitter end, making the long taxi ride home nothing more than an irrelevant blur.
Ents were also on point, though the headliners were a little uninspiring. The Other Tribe performed a fun but soulless impression of Klaxons in 2007. The other headliner, King Charles, pleased the crowd, though he too couldn’t help but show more style than any real substance. The real strength of Ents at Girton lay in the smaller acts. The cabaret and Jazz were real highlights, whilst the dance tent provided a reliable source of euphoria throughout the night. The dodgems, helter skelter and massive basket swings allowed for the childish fun we all crave, whilst little touches like the two intensely industrious Shoeshiners by the porters lodge gave the event the air of class.
It seems harsh to end this review on a negative note, but it would be inexcusable not to mention the painful queues that most guests faced on entry to the ball. Those with standard tickets spent up to two and a half hours queuing on the cold March night, leaving them shivering, starving and painfully sober by the time they actually entered through the giant tower.
People warmed up quickly though, and hopefully, for the majority, the hours inside Les Annees Folles more than made up for the wait… Certainly this was a problem that could easily be remedied for next year, so it should not put people off from dusting off their ball gowns and wasting hours on YouTube watching bow-tie tutorials when next Spring comes around.
Food and Drink
Value for Money
Star Attraction: The maze-like layout made for constant new surprises.
Biggest turn-off: Massive queues on entry.