Students descend on Sidney gardens for decadence and excess

Much alcohol, very May Week.

Cambridge Union Drinking fun May Week presidential campaigns summer union garden party union society

Forgive us for the reductionist and lil’ clickbait headline, but what can ya do. The Tab went along to the Union’s Garden Party and here’s what we thought of it…

Whether you were on an electoral prowl or looking for a lovely day in the sun to kick off your May Week, the Cambridge Union Garden Party MMXVI proved to be a delightful event.

The Union delivered on a range of fabulous features, from a magician, to a caricature artist, to a massage area. Using the setting of the Sidney Gardens was, as last year, the right move – everything flowed well between the courts and nowhere was left too busy or too quiet.

The incoming VP hedges her bets with the future president, in a hedge. #symbolism

The incoming VP hedges her bets with the future president, in a hedge. #symbolism

The food and drink was plentiful, except the oysters which ran out a little early. Perhaps this was because of a he-who-shall-not-be-named ex-President snatching six oysters to himself, but the outgoing VP was pretty happy that the oysters had gone down such a treat with everyone: “Nothing’s run out yet, except the oysters, which are an acceptable thing to have run out.”

The British queuing. Also, ice is cold.

The British queuing. Also, ice is cold.

Food was good on the whole, but underwhelming at times. The oysters and paella were fresh and tasty and the ice-cream stand was in huge demand, but the main tent BBQ was disappointing. The queue was often too long and the food wasn’t exactly worth the wait – the falafel option, burgers and hotdogs were all a bit dry and meh.

I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream.

I scream, you scream, we all wait 30 minutes for ice cream.

The drinks stole the show and were one of the event’s highlights. Guests were spoiled for choice with sparkling wine, Pimms and G&Ts, all readily available from start to finish. The queues for drinks were all pretty short and were mixed suitably strongly throughout. The party was an ideal environment for getting pleasantly tipsy on a summer’s afternoon.

An outgoing Tab Editor may or may not have been heard noting, “I think I’m beginning to tire of excess and I’m only 24 hours in”, as he enjoys a slice of brie off a plastic knife.

Cheese carnage = guaranteed fun.

Cheese carnage = guaranteed fun.

The entertainment was also excellent with a wide selection of live acts including The Groove Knights, SAACHI and Selwyn Jazz. Standout performers were Shiv and Jason who wowed the crowd with stunning covers and perennial May Week favourites, Truly Medley Deeply, who got guests dancing with their ever-popular pop medleys. Guests of the event getting up behind the mic added to the joviality of the atmosphere. The musical ents provided a thoroughly enjoyable soundtrack to an idyllic afternoon in Sidney Sussex Gardens.

Filled with fun features like bubble machines (don't try using G+T as the liquid though, oops)

Filled with fun features like bubble machines (don’t try using G+T as the liquid though, oops)

All in all, an afternoon well-spent and well worth the £25 price tag with enough food, drink and entertainment to keep you going right up until the party ended. There wasn’t a moment when the atmosphere fell flat or you wanted more to eat or drink.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would recommend the Union Garden Party to anyone who likes lounging about in the sun in a semi-formal and semi-tipsy atmosphere (so, everyone).

An excellent way to kick off your May Week before diving head first into one of the balls.

A well-deserved 4/5 stars