Here’s what really happened at the Lucy Cavendish bop people are calling an ‘illegal rave’

Students have been deaned following a party which featured a ball pit, bar tab, and even a rodeo bull

On 18th March, students at Lucy Cavendish College held what was advertised as an “end of term bop”. The college knew about the event and students had even filled out a risk assessment in advance. Although it went on half an hour longer than initially planned, it was not portered. 

Later that month, posts concerning what people were calling an “illegal rave” began circulating on Camfess. Here’s what we know about what actually happened:

Around 100 people turned up

The initial risk assessment submitted by students stated the event would be divided into three slots of around two hours each, with a 15-minute gap between each slot where cleaning and airing of the space would take place in line with Covid-19 restrictions.

A maximum of 40 students were supposed to attend each slot, including two fire wardens and two bar staff. 

However, in an email seen by The Cambridge Tab, the college told student organisers that “this schedule was not adhered to” and the cap on numbers was not observed. Students present confirmed that in total around 100 students attended the party.

Image credits: Hasan Akeil

Other than participants from Lucy Cavendish, students from other colleges, including Trinity and Churchill, “crashed” the event.

The college says the risk assessment was “not adhered to”

In the email to the organisers, Lucy Cavendish College alleged that the risk assessment they had submitted was “not adhered to” a number of times. 

The college claimed that event stewards “were not observed to be carrying out their duties” – saying that CCTV footage from the evening shows that, allegedly, “smoking was ignored” by the stewards, and saying that there were “incapacitated students”.

In addition, organisers “did not give […] the names and telephone numbers” of those acting as event and fire stewards to the Porter’s Lodge before the event commenced.

Further health and safety risks outlined by the college in their email include a chair which was “blocking the fire exit” and even being used as a “climbing aid.”

The organisers of the event denied these claims. They say stewards did their duties looking after students, clearing areas for airing and wiping down surfaces. They also say they had “counters” at the doors to track numbers and claim they were within capacity.

They say they worked closely with staff and porters during the event with the on-duty porters knowing who the stewards and fire wardens were, and all wore hi-vis.

There was a ball pit and rodeo bull

Before submitting their risk assessment, students were told by Lucy Cavendish’s Domestic Bursar that the use of a bouncy castle “was not allowed”. The college’s email alleged that after submitting a risk assessment that made no mention of the idea, organisers then set up a “bouncy item” in the form of an inflatable ball pit. 

The email said “no consideration was given to [whether there was] available lighting for [the] inflatables to be erected, dismantled or used safely.” Other entertainments put on for the evening included a rodeo bull. 

The college said plugging the large amount of equipment required for these items into electrical sockets meant that “the circuits could easily have been tripped.”

Image credits: Hasan Akeil

This was also refuted by the organisers, who say they produced a “comprehensive risk assessment” for the ball pit and rodeo bull, a liability agreement from the hire company and full documentation of PAT testing and wattages for all electrical equipment.

Beyond this, three trained staff from the hire company supervised all equipment for the duration of the event. The organisers say: “All this has been shared with the college.”

The organisers had to have discussions with the dean

One of the student organisers told The Tab that following the party, the students involved in its organisation received an email from the college detailing the areas of concern. They then had discussions with the dean. Following this, no further action has been taken against the students involved.

Student reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Some students praised the event, with one student remarking that it “was the best bop I’ve been to!”, and others even taking to Camfess to lobby for more. Another described it as “the highlight of [their] term.”

Image credits: author’s own screenshot via Camfess (

The organisers expressed their frustration that the areas of concern were raised by people who did not attend the event, but understand why the college was concerned.

Hasan Akeil, speaking on behalf of the organisers, said: “It is the college’s job to make sure everyone is safe here so I’m not upset that they looked into this. I did find it funny that it was called an ‘illegal rave’ because it was clearly safe and organised with college approval.

“I do also understand that communication with college was not perfect on both sides and we hope to use this as a learning experience to do things better next time.” 

Lucy Cavendish College has been approached for comment.

Additional reporting credits: Akrit Agarwal

Featured image credits: Gia Bao Tao