May Week Blog 2015: Huge Downing headliner announced


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Stay tuned for anything and everything you’ll need to know about this year’s May Week – set to be the best yet, as usual.

Know any rumours? Fancy telling us exclusive details? Email us at [email protected].

Update (10th June) – DJ Fresh to headline Downing

The Tab can reveal that DJ Fresh will be headlining Downing next week.

He forms the icing on the cake of an impressive set of Downing headliners this year, joining The Feeling and Wretch 32 on the Main Stage.

With seven top-ten hits, two number one singles and a number one album, DJ Fresh is fast becoming an icon in the drum and bass genre.

Downing May Ball is a relative trifle compared with his recent performances at some of the biggest festivals in Europe and the USA, namely Ultra Music Festival, EXIT Festival and Glastonbury. And that’s not to forget his work with the likes of Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding, Dizzee Rascal, Ella Eyre and Diplo.

President Miriam Good and Ents Officer Brad Tapper told The Tab: “We are thrilled to confirm that DJ Fresh – together with Messy MC – will be joining The Feeling and Wretch 32 to headline Downing this year.

“DJ Fresh’s music is instantly recognisable and is sure to get the Downing crowd going and, with plenty of releases lined up for the next few months, who knows what material DJ Fresh might play for the first time at the Ball. We are delighted to offer guests great music that will satisfy any taste.”

Going to be good.

Update (26th May) – John’s announces comedy headliners, support artists and more

Ever ones to tease, John’s May Ball committee are slowly releasing their much anticipated line-up. Here are all the details of the second batch of performers for the ball.

First up are two impressive support artists.

Afriquoi are a London group performing African Live Dance music – basically a cool combo of African styles and musicians with contemporary UK electronic music.

They will be joined by All We Are, a threesome act healing from the genre of “Psychedelic Boogie”. Having released their self-titled debut album at the front-end of 2015 to rave reviews, they are self-described as the “Bee Gees on diazepam” and “meld slick, radiant production leanings with an almost effortless gift for a killer pop hook”.

Not long now…

Also announced are the all-important comedy headliners. This year, John’s have got their hands on The Horne Section with special guests Phil Wang and Ed Gamble.

The first band ever to host Never Mind the Buzzcocks, The Horne Section, led by former Cantab Alex Horne, are a big deal right now and will be rolling into town hot on the heels of their BBC Radio 4 series, as well as four years of sell out shows in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and West End.

Tim Key of the Horne Section, led by Alex Horne, an ex-Footlight

John’s have told us to “expect a heady mix of spontaneous stand-up, spectacular performance and outlandish musical talent led by the brilliant comedian Alex Horne. Gathering together the UK’s finest musicians and throwing them together on stage with the world’s most exciting comics, The Horne Section brings its indomitable fanfare to the ball.”

Finally, we can reveal this year’s support DJs. The Menendez Brothers are known to “continuously throw down some of the most fun and enjoyable sets.”

It’s John’s, so acts of this calibre are perhaps to be expected. All the same, this year’s ball looks set to be a stunner. Stay tuned for more.

Update (25th May) – Emmanuel’s Headliner and Clare’s Second

Though May Week is almost upon us (or so we keep telling ourselves), there are still loads of exciting headliners still to come in.

Having just released massive headliner Professor Green, Clare College has announced that the hotly-tipped rising star Raleigh Ritchie will be gracing the Main Stage on the 15th June:

In 2014 Raleigh Ritchie supported Kendrick Lamar’s UK tour and performed sets at both Reading and Glastonbury. This year, he is currently supporting George Ezra before performing at Wireless. He will also release his debut album in time for his solo UK tour kicking off in the autumn. Raleigh Ritchie’s live performances have been described as exuding ‘boundless energy’.

Ball-goers may recognise the Bristol-born performer from his star role as Grey Worm in the hit HBO TV Series Game of Thrones. In 2013, the multi-talented performer signed to Columbia Records under his stage name Raleigh Ritchie and released several EPs. His stand out single Stronger Than Ever has been played millions of times on YouTube and made it into the UK Top 40 charts and several Radio 1 DJs’ regular playlists.

Raleigh’s most recent release The Greatest, taken from his upcoming album, is already gathering hype.

Raleigh Ritchie’s musical influences include Erykah Badu, David Bowie, The Smiths, and Stevie Wonder. With such diverse influences, it’s no surprise his music has been described as a unique amalgamation of R&B, soul, indie and pop music.

The combination of a huge headliner and an exciting rising star makes Clare May Ball 2015 undoubtedly one of the most exhilarating May Balls this year. If you’ve not got a ticket, you’ll want to get your hands on one soon!

In other news, Emmanuel have finally decided that enough anticipation is enough, and announced that Pendulum DJ Set featuring MC Verse will be headlining their May Ball on June 14th. On Facebook yesterday they told us to:

“Get ready to wind back the clock to your Pendulum phase and party like that overexcited teenager you once were!”

Update (17th May) – Jesus, Clare and Pembroke Headliners

Given there’s been such a slew of superb acts recently, we thought it about time for a quick round-up of the mega-May Week headliners announced so far.

Pembroke have produced an impressive trio of headliners. In particular, Wankelmuts should make house fans very happy, while chart-topping Becky Hill will undoubtedly liven the party with hits “Overdrive” and “Afterglow”.

Pembroke may have “My Head is a Jungle” to boast about, but, over in Clare, the grass gets even greener for May Week with the announcement of Professor Green as their May Ball headline Act. The multi-award-winning British rapper has released three studio albums to date and achieved a UK no.1 with his single ‘Read All About It’. His other top tracks include, ‘I need you tonight’, ‘Jungle’, and ‘Lullaby’.

Meanwhile, Jesus have impressed Cantabs with their announcement of James Bay as headliner. The chart-topping heartthrob is a huge name in UK music right now. His ‘Chaos and the Calm’, released in March, soared to Number One in the album charts. And he’s clinched Number Two in the fiercely-contested singles charts with ‘Hold back the River’.

All these big names and we haven’t even heard what John’s or Trinity have up their sleeves yet. May Week – with Stephen Fry and the Fratellis also in the mix – is already shaping up to be pretty impressive. 

Update (5th May) – John’s reveal extended DJ set from festival favourites

“We’re pleased to announce firm festival favourites the 2 Bears for an extra special extended set as headline DJs at John’s this year,” announced one of the Ball’s committee members. The pair will be playing the prestigious event before performing at festivals across Europe over the summer, including Latitude and Bestival.

The 2 Bears are Joe Goddard (of Hot Chip fame) and Raf Daddy (a DJ who has worked with the likes of Basement Jaxx and Mathew Herbert). Their debit LP ‘Be Strong’ was widely praised,  a mix of songs you can’t help but dance to filled with an acid wit.

Update (28th April) – King’s Affair AND Peterhouse May Ball announced their headline act

Coming straight from his tour of North America in May – Ben UFO will be headlining both King’s Affair and Peterhouse May Ball. Just last year he made Resident Advisor’s Top 10 DJs, as well as holding down a regular slot on Rinse FM under the Hessle Audio banner (his own record label)

King’s President Sachin Parathalingam and Peterhouse President Matt Fellows have released a joint statement, which is suitably smug for Presidents that have landed one of the biggest DJs of the event season: “Ben has been a favourite of a number of our Committee members and so we are proud for him to be headlining our Dance Stage with an extended set. This promises to be something very special and we really look forward to welcoming our guests on June 17th”.

Both May Balls have more acts to announce and we will be delivering the news as we get it. You might want to set about selling your bike / laptop / grandmother in order to fund tickets.

Non-Ball news: Stephen Fry will be here in May Week

Given the, frankly, absurd numbers who queued to see Stephen Fry at the Union last term, it only seemed fair to stick the Sidney Sussex Arts Festival in the May Week Blog.

They have just announced their headline speaker: the one, the only, Stephen Fry. He joins Sebastian Faulks and Judith Weir to talk at the college as part of a day of cultural festivities.

The festival will take place on Saturday 20th June, at the end of May Week. Offering speakers, music, performances and more, it promises to be a pleasant alternative (antidote?) to other May Week events. Food, drinks and, best of all, a bouncy castle will be on offer from midday at the college.

Tickets are available from £30 at

Update (27th April): Bondax to headline Corpus

Corpus 2015: Party of a Lifetime have released their headliner.

It is none other than the electronic duo, Bondax.

Rising stars in the electronic music scene, Bondax have been compared with acts such as Disclosure, Gorillax and LCD Soundsystem with their “clean, ambient and souful” sound. They’ve also headlined stages at Latitude and Bestival.

If you’re looking for a taste of this years act, their most recent single, ‘All I See’ is available online. It’s been described as “pure electronic sunshine”.

Corpus’ stage will also be supported by Londoner Alex Metric, an internationally in-demand producer, remixer and DJ.

And the final support act described by i-D as ‘our very own generation’s Mariah Carey’ will be KStewart.

Looks like an interesting mix for this year’s ‘From Innocence to Experience’ themed May Ball event, which will be held on June 19th.

Update (26th April): Pembroke announce act

Little Comets have been announced as the first headline act for Pembroke. 

The Comets first rose to fame back in 2009, receiving praise from the likes of Zane Lowe when their single hit the independent charts.

You however probably know them best as being “that band that did that song from that Radox advert”.

What we know so far (22nd April)

The Fratellis, most famous for Whistle for the Choir and the ever-catchy Chelsea Dagger, will be headlining Magdalene.

Trinity Hall will be hosting the one and only Annie Mac at their June Event. Might be worth trying to get a ticket for that…

Strawberries and Creem Festival, held just outside of Cambridge, will have both Skepta and the legendary Grandmaster Flash.


Anything else? Email us at [email protected].